If you love elegant white wines with plenty of flavor, nuance, personality, and aging potential; give Fiano di Avellino a swirl! An ancient grape with roots in the Campania region in the south of Italy, Fiano was known as the grape of the bees because they find its sweetness too alluring to resist. After a lovely tasting of Donnachiara Fiano di Avellino at Il Gattopardo restaurant in NYC, I can attest that wine lovers will also find it irresistible!
Winery owner and managing director Ilaria Petitto is the granddaughter of the Donna Chiara that inspired the name of this family enterprise. Located in Montefalcione, an ancient village in Avellino province, the modern cellar at Donnachiara was completed in 2005 but the vineyards have been in the family for 150 years.
Ilaria describes Fiano di Avellino as "aristocratic and elegant" and a "secret wine" that many people don't know about. If you want in on the secret, Donnachiara Fiano di Avellino DOCG 2015 (around $18) is a fantastic introduction. Very aromatic with a beguiling floral scent, this dry white wine refreshes the palate with crisp fruit flavors and a hint of minerality. Fiano di Avellino also belongs to that special club of white wines that age beautifully and I found that the older vintages revealed amazing layers of flavor - tropical fruits, honey, and almonds; while maintaining great acidity and freshness. Bottles of the 2013 are still available and I highly recommend purchasing one so that you can see how beautifully Fiano di Avellino evolves in just a couple of years. If you're lucky enough to have a friend with a bottle of 2007 Donnachiara Fiano di Avellino, be extra nice so that they share it with you. The 2007 is extraordinary - luscious, rich, and graceful. Cheers!