Fiano, white grape variety native to Italy, where it is considered among the best native white wine grapes. Fiano was saved from oblivion in 1945 by the Mastroberadino family who created a varietal bottling of it.

The name | The name Fiano may have derived from the name of the town Lapio, a small town east of Avellino in the Campania region whose combination of clay soil and high altitude (590 metres) are considered ideal for it. The town was known as Appia, later Appiano, which then evolved into Lapio. Fiano is also known as Latino.

Not to be confused with | The grape called Fiano Minutolo in Puglia is a completely unrelated variety.

Where grown in Italy | Basilicata. | Puglia. | Sicily.

Viticulture | Though late-ripening, Fiano has a rather thick skin which prevents it from being attacked by grey rot in a part of Campania (Avellino) that can be rainy and cool in late autumn. Lapio, a small town 590m above sea level in the area of Avellino which is noted for its heavy clay soil is known as the cru site for Fiano. The variety also shows an affinity for volcanic soil, where it can develop notes reminiscent of burnt rubber or smoke. As it is a variety rich in aromatic precursors, certain decisions made in the vineyard or in the cellar such as selecting higher and thus cooler vineyard site and doing a pre-fermentation maceration can help bring out its aromatic potential.

Wine styles | Fiano wines are typically still dry whites, pale straw yellow in colour, often with green tinges. Fiano thrives in soils of volcanic origin, displaying smokey or burnt rubber notes. Fiano is rich in aromatic precursors, and these are most strongly expressed from vines grown on higher, cooler sites, or via pre-fermentation maceration of the juice on the skins. Fiano wines age very well, displaying beeswax and acacia honey notes, allied to creamy, oily textures in mature examples. Fiano can also be made as a late-harvest or air-dried sweet wine, in which case Fiano’s aromas are especially pronounced.

Wines | Cilento DOC Fiano (Campania). | Fiano di Avellino DOCG (Campania). | Sannio DOC Fiano (Campania).

Bibliography

Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p101.

Dr Ian d’Agata, Native Wine Grapes of Italy (University of California Press, 2014).

Dr Ian d’Agata, Native Wine Grape Terroirs of Italy (University of California Press, 2019).