Name for me something that is under-appreciated, relatively unknown, offers amazing quality . . . and comes in a bottle. You were going to say something about your singing when you’re belting out show tunes in the car, until you read that last bit, right? But I said “bottle,” so clearly I’m talking about the wines of Campania, Italy. Particularly its white wines. The principle varieties include Falanghina, Greco, and Fiano, yeilding wines that are typically fairly low in alcohol, with ample acidity and minerality, thanks, in part to the region’s volcanic soils (think Mt. Vesuvius). These are ancient grapes, probably brought to Campania by the Greeks, and have been cultivated in this area for at least 2500 years. Just within the last generation, however, many new wineries have opened, headed by youthful and energetic owners and wine-makers. This new guard is breathing life into Campania’s wine industry by making wines that reflect the true nature of the region’s indigenous grape varieties.
Falanghina is a fun, yet simple wine that has seems to be getting some attention from the cork dorks, lately. Greco is a nutty, mineral-driven wine with a lot of natural acidity, but not much “frutiness”. The best example of wine made from Greco is Greco di Tufo, one of only two white DOCGs in Campania. Fiano, however, is the most interesting to me, especially Fiano di Avellino, Campania’s other white DOCG. Most are fairly complex, with nutty, floral, and smokey characteristics, and very food-friendly. Speaking of food, I’ve selected Colli Di Lapio’s Clelia Romano Fiano di Avellino 2013 to serve with Greg’s Slow-Cooked Calamari. Colli di Lapio is one of those forward-looking producers I mentioned earlier. According to the International Wine Cellar, “this young estate, founded in 1994, is the source of one of the finest Fianos made today.”
Colli di Lapio Fiano di Avellino
Made not far from Italy’s famed Amalfi Coast, Fiano di Avellino is a natural partner for many seafood dishes. In particular, Colli di Lapio’s wine, with its bright acidity, mineral core, and a slight note of “sea spray” complements Greg’s briny calamari nicely. Also, this wine has an herbal quality to it, which ties into the basil flavors, as well as a long, tangy, citrus-like finish, which mimics the dish’s flavor of orange zest. Straw yellow in color, with aromas of wildflowers, stone fruits and hazelnuts, this is a small-production wine, but worth the effort to find. This is also my go-to wine for pairing with pesto . . . and possibly show tunes. GRANT
Pairs With How to Cook Calamari (Amalfi Style)
Also pairs well with buffalo mozzarella, shrimp scampi, cioppino, fish, spicy dishes, herbs, salads and vegetables.
- Category White Wine
- Varietal Fiano
- Region Campania Italy