Pure aromas of lemon-and-lime citrus and green apple leap from the glass, tinged with subtle hints of hazelnut and minerality.
On a crisp, sunny morning last April, we sipped an espresso on our hotel balcony in Benevento. In the distance, the “Sleeping Beauty of Samnium” rose from the earth, continuing her slumber of more than 66 million years. Later in the day, we would drive the short distance to the slopes of Mount Taburno — whose profile takes the shape of a woman lying on her back — to taste the Fiano at Cantina del Taburno.
Wine historians believe that the cultivation of Fiano likely dates back to the ancient Greeks. At harvest, berries are tiny and thick-skinned, making for exceedingly high skin-to-juice ratios. Wines are wildly aromatic, infused with aromas of honey, beeswax, white peach, and hazelnut.
While the nearby appellation of Avellino is widely associated with the ethereal white, it’s Cantina del Taburno that has inspired Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and Antonio Galloni’s Vinous alike. The Wine Advocate identified Cantina del Taburno as “one of Campania’s most promising estates” whose “top wines compete with the best being made anywhere.” Vinous called the 2015 Fiano Beneventano “very suave,” praising its “complex, herbal nose,” “delightful” midpalate, and long finish.
The real difference between today’s Fiano Beneventano and its neighbors in Avellino? A case of sticker shock. Prices of Fiano produced in the Avellino DOCG have given us vertigo — some as high as $70 a bottle! At Cantina del Taburno, prices top out at $30 retail.
After a lengthy lunch of local handmade pastas and wild boar, capped off with cordials of local Strega (the liqueur has been made in Benevento since 1860), we made the trek 19 miles west to Cantina del Taburno. Winemaker Filippo Colandrea greeted us, passed out glasses, and led us through the cellars, past stacks of new French barriques to a row of immaculate stainless steel tanks. Colandrea motioned us to a small tap on one of the tanks and released several ounces of beautiful, glistening Fiano in our glasses.
The 2015 Cantina del Taburno Fiano Beneventano is pale yellow in color with emerald hues. Fresh and lively, aged in 100% stainless steel, pure aromas of lemon-and-lime citrus and green apple leap from the glass, tinged with subtle hints of hazelnut and minerality — classic traits of the Fiano grape. Juicy on the attack, pure fruit flavors are bracketed by mouthwatering acidity. A long finish is buttressed by a strong mineral thread.
91+ points from Vinous. One of The Wine Advocate’s “most promising” estates in Campania. We tasted it again this week at WineAccess HQ, with bottles direct from Cantina del Taburno — as fresh and lively as it was in Benevento last April. This is the under-$15 Italian white BARGAIN to sock away by the case in anticipation of springtime sipping. $14.99/bottle. Shipping included on 6.
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