Winemakers use the term terroir to describe a uniqueness in wine coming from a mix of soil, climate and culture. The two best known examples of unique terroir in whites are Chablis (Chardonnay) and Sancerre (Sauvignon). But there is a third â€“ a lesser known white that I believe rivals these classics. Itâ€™s called Fiano (a grape) from Campania in Italy.
Donnachiara is an excellent Fiano. Shades of biting into a fresh green olive at a Mediterranean cafÃ© â€“ and wondering which seafood dish to order. Wonderful sharpening and teasing of the palate. Distinctive for sure â€“ and edgy, just like the just-mentioned French wines.
Fianoâ€™s talents are still a secret so itâ€™s seldom seen outside Campania. However, this may change as young winemakers worldwide look for creations beyond the stable of best selling grapes. But can another region replicate Fianoâ€™s distinctiveness? Below is an Aussie edition for you to explore. Itâ€™s a very good wine, maybe more to some peoples liking â€“ but it the lacks the distinctiveness of the original. As is the case with imitations of the French pair.
As you might know, most of the time Iâ€™m more than happy with the Honda edition of classic wines, but in this case I hope youâ€™ll agree that twenty dollars is a small price to pay for experiencing a â€˜classicâ€™.
DONNACHIARA 15 Fiano di Avellino, Campania, Italy 372482 Vintages $18.95
CHALK HILL 17 Fiano â€˜Alpha Crucisâ€™, McLaren Vale, Australia 571158 Vintages $21.95