There are some wine producers to whom I confess I have a particular liking as in the case of Ciro Picariello, whose wines I have learned to appreciate over the years. The reason for the sympathy is linked to Ciro’s ability to have given life to Fiano based wines starting from an almost non-existent formation, and gradually gaining experience on his skin, in less than 20 years of history. Yes, because Ciro, until 2004, worked as a surveyor and will begin to become passionate about wine production, before even dedicating himself to it, only in the last decade of 1900, when his wife inherited a portion of the family farm in Summonote, in the province of Avellino. It was a composite set of land on which the rotation of cultures was practiced together with a form of mixed agriculture (hazelnuts, vines, fruit trees) that guaranteed the old farmers of the place from the risk of losing a whole harvest, as in the case of monoculture farms.
The vineyards of the place were all red berry and the production was destined for family consumption or, at most, local, but this did not prevent Ciro to start experimenting on an uncultivated part of hazelnut, the plot 906, from which today is produced the most representative wine of the winery. From that parcel began the work of eradication of hazelnuts and the planting of white grapes of Fiano; the beginning a path of experimentation that also corresponds to the abandonment of the previous work. This leap into the void requires sacrifices and gives little satisfaction, and even if the winery expands to cover four hectares of land, the wine produced does not arouse the emotion that Ciro seeks, because of its excessive hardness and lack of immediacy of drinking. The turning point took place with the 2007 vintage and its dry summer that led to a 10-day advance of the harvest in one of the two parcels owned, that of Montefredane (10 kilometers east of Summonte). The next step was to understand that those masses, so ready, soft and immediate, had to become part of the wine of Ciro which, since then, was produced by mixing the grapes of Montefredane and those of Summonte.
Today the recipe has not changed and his Fiano di Avellino DOCG is born by mixing the grapes roughly in equal parts, even if the exact percentage does not know, perhaps, even Ciro who relies on the tradition handed down by the ancient winemakers of the place, and to his unquestionable taste. What is possible to say is that, once the grapes have been harvested, from both parcels, they are sent to the tiny cellar where the must, obtained after a delicate pressing, is cooled to 8 ºC for 24 hours. The fermentation lasts two months and takes place in steel tanks with internal coils that after starting at a temperature between 16 and 18 degrees, bring it forward by lowering it to 12/13 degrees. Finally, it takes 10 months of aging in stainless steel, on the fine lees, with frequent batonnages and, after bottling, another six months of rest in glass, before marketing.
The 2020 vintage has a pale straw color, with some greenish streaks, and an olfactory range that opens on notes of medlar, white peach, toasted hazelnut and lime peel, followed by box flower, laurel and eucalyptus, with final echoes of smoke and hydrocarbon. The palate deliciously alternates the soft component with the fresh/citric one, with a contour of sapidity/ mineral and a hint of white pepper spiciness: all enriched by the return of yellow fruit and hydrocarbon that accompany the sip until an excellent length closure.
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