A few weeks ago I reported on a cool new chapter in Virginia’s wine story with the release of the state’s first commercially available pét-nat. Today I report on another ‘cool new chapter’ — Virginia’s first wine made from the Fiano grape, the soon to be released, 2015 Barboursville Fiano Reserve.
Fiano is an ancient Italian white grape variety grown primarily in the southern Italy region of Campania (in the DOCG Fiano di Avellino), located east of Naples. Also cultivated on the island of Sicily and in parts of Australia and Argentina, Fiano is a low yielding, early ripening grape that tends to thrive in warm climates.
Called Fiano today, or Fiano di Avellino, some 2,000 years ago the Romans knew this grape as vitis apiana, Latin for ‘vine of the bees;’ a reference to bees’ attraction to the sweet pulp of the grape.
Following the success of another warm-climate-friendly Italian white variety, Vermentino, Luca Paschina, General Manager and head winemaker at Barboursville Vineyards, decided to plant 3.5 acres of Fiano.
Paschina, who is from the Piemonte region of Italy, says, “we planted [Fiano] in 2013 following the same logic of planting Vermentino, they love warm weather and tolerate heat.”
Thankfully local winegrowers like Paschina (and Law, Horton, Harmon, Meyer, and White among them as well), continue to experiment in search of grape varieties suited for Virginia’s hot and humid climate. This pioneering spirit and the capital investment for plantings of new varieties benefits the entire Virginia wine industry and consumers that love local wines.
This 2015 Barboursville Fiano Reserve is golden straw in color, offering aromas of peach, lemon, and honeycomb. Hints of white flowers and almonds linger on the edges. Fresh and vibrant; flavors of waxy peach and honeycomb dominate the palate. Fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in neutral oak barrels with lots of lees stirring, this wine is dry with wonderful texture, similar to some Loire Chenin.
Will be interesting to taste how this wine evolves in bottle and future vintages as the vines mature. Barboursville Fiano is only available for purchase at the tasting room.
The inaugural Barboursville Fiano Reserve is a beautiful wine that lives up to the quality hype of the 2015 white grape harvest and a worthy addition to the 2015 Barboursville releases, which marks Paschina’s 25th vintage in Virginia.
Bravo team Barboursville!