2020 Ciro Picariello Fiano d’Irpinia
Ciro Picariello is a cult classic when it comes to Fiano. His wines tend to be very tart and mineral-driven, ideal characteristics when you are looking for a food-friendly white wine.
Organic farming practices, hand-harvested, native yeast fermentation, minimal SO2, unfined/unfiltered, vegan-friendly and only 833 cases produced annually.
“The story of Ciro Picariello embodies another one of those “Ah-ha” moments on the wine trail. I was having dinner with some importer friends (at the superb restaurant, Frasca, in Boulder, CA) and we started with the usual throw-down of big boy Whites: Coche, Lafon, Dagueneau, Raveneau, etc. One of the attendees – Ciro’s California importer – quietly slipped in a 6-year old bottle of Fiano di Avellino on the table. Not only did the wine hold its own in that elite company, but it ended up being the bottle that that was drained first, with everyone fighting over the last sip! In that moment, it became our mission to track down this great under-the-radar producer.”
Ciro Picariello has quickly become one of the star producers of Fiano di Avellino. He and his wife started their winery back in 1997, but their first vintage under their own label was not until 2004. Their 12 hectares of vineyards are located at relatively high elevation in the province of Campania, divided between the villages of Montefredane (1,600 feet above sea level) and Summonte (2,100 feet). The harvest for the Fiano occurs in late October, very late for white wine. The grapes are hand-picked and carefully sorted and then pressed slowly with only the first press fraction used in the DOCG Fiano. The wines are then fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless tanks. The Irpinia Fiano is aged on its fine lees for 7-8 months (plus several months more in bottle before release). Use of SO2 is minimal and the wines are not filtered nor fined. This entry-level Fiano d’Irpinia is made from their younger vines aging two to seven years old. It could easily compete with many of the top Fiano’s on the market. Ciro has become a cult producer of Fiano and this wines are just as age-worthy as Burgundy for 1/4 the cost.