Fiano: The Unsung Hero of Italian Whites

Delve into the intriguing universe of Fiano, a white grape variety that’s one of Italy’s well-kept secrets. This ancient grape, predominantly grown in the Campania region, creates wines renowned for their complexity, longevity, and distinctive aromatic profile. Despite its lesser-known status, Fiano is a treasure waiting to be discovered by those eager to explore the nuanced world of Italian white wines.

A Brief History

Fiano’s roots extend back to ancient times, believed to have been cultivated by the Romans and possibly even as far back as the Greeks. The name Fiano is thought to be derived from “vitis apiana”, referring to the grape’s historical appeal to bees (‘api’ in Italian). Despite a decline in its cultivation in the 20th century due to low yields, it has experienced a renaissance in recent decades, earning recognition for the quality and distinctive character of the wines it produces.


Fiano is a late-ripening variety that thrives in a Mediterranean climate, particularly volcanic soils. Its berries are small with a high skin-to-juice ratio, contributing to the wine’s pronounced aromatics and potential for aging. Despite its low yields, Fiano has a reputation for producing wines of substantial body and structure.

Flavour Profile

Fiano is known for its floral and honeyed aroma profile. It often exhibits notes of white blossoms, honey, spices, nuts, and a wide range of fruits from citrus to tropical depending on the terroir. It’s also recognized for its minerality and often has a smoky, almost flinty character, particularly when grown in volcanic soils.

Different Styles of Wine

The styles of Fiano wines can vary considerably, primarily influenced by terroir and winemaking decisions. In general, they range from fresh and medium-bodied with vibrant acidity, to richer, more complex versions that can age for several years. Some winemakers experiment with oak-aging to add additional complexity.

Wine Making and Maturation Options

Winemakers have the option to create both stainless steel-fermented Fiano, which emphasizes the grape’s fruitiness and fresh acidity, or to use oak for fermentation and/or maturation, which can lend additional layers of complexity and a richer mouthfeel. Given Fiano’s natural structure and flavor concentration, the wines can also benefit from some bottle aging.

Important Regions

Fiano is most closely associated with Campania in southern Italy, especially the denominations of Fiano di Avellino DOCG and Sannio Fiano DOC. However, it’s also found in other Italian regions and has been planted in new-world regions such as Australia, where winemakers are crafting their own expressions of the variety.

Food Pairing Suggestions

Fiano’s mix of richness, vibrant acidity, and complex flavors makes it a versatile partner for a variety of dishes. It pairs beautifully with seafood, particularly shellfish, and can stand up to white meats, creamy sauces, and dishes with a citrus element. It also complements vegetarian dishes well, particularly those featuring herbs, olives, and Mediterranean flavors.

Fiano, with its captivating blend of history, complexity, and distinctiveness, is a testament to the richness of Italy’s vinous heritage. One taste, and you’ll appreciate why this ancient grape variety continues to endure and enchant. Discover Fiano, and savor a sip of southern Italy in every glass.

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Written by

Bernard Marr has a deep passion for wine. He has written hundreds of articles on wine, including features for Forbes, covering wine-making and industry trends. Away from the world of wine, Bernard is a world-renown business and technology futurist. He is the award winning author of over 20 best-selling books and has a combined audience of nearly 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters.

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