Wine of the Week: Vigneti del Vulture Greco Fiano, Basilicata

Our Wine of the Week is Vigneti del Vulture Greco Fiano, Basilicata.

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Italian Wine is full of surprises

In the past I’ve made no secret of my love of Italian white wine. The primary reason for this love is, of course, the taste, but there’s so much more to it than flavour. By its very complicated nature, the Italian wine industry and culture is always offering up new surprises and unlike like a lot of new world regions, whose innovation is down to growers and producers trying new things, I get the sense that with Italian wine, there will always be something new to discover, whether it’s a producer that’s being working away for generations or trendsetter upsetting the old wine rules and regulations. Basically, I will never run out of Italian wine to try.

A little difficult to understand

But it’s slightly muddled nature also has a down side – it makes my love of it very difficult to convey and the bottles very difficult to distinguish from one another. Whereas I love trying something new and picking out a mysterious looking bottle, I can appreciate that this trial and error method isn’t for everyone – a lot of people need to know as much information as possible before they part money with a wine and let’s just say that on the incomprehensible label spectrum, many Italian wines are off the scale. But I’m going to use this blog post to urge you to take a chance. I knew very little about this particular bottle from the Basilicata region before I tried it, but the Vigneti del Vulture Greco Fiano has certainly left an impression.

The quest for subtlety

The reason I love Italian white wine so much could be put down to a number of reasons. Firstly, as I get older, I find I seek out wines that are slightly more subtle, slightly less in your face, Secondly, I’ve found that the more nuanced these wines are, the more complex they turn out to be. Don’t mistake full on intensity for full on quality. Sit back and try a wine that’s a bit less of a show off and you might be surprised at the amount of flavours there are. So when I tried the Vigneti del Vulture Greco Fiano, I was reminded of all of these advantages – the aromas and flavours included baked pears, lemon, almonds, sweet pastry and even a slight grape character that you would usually only find in Muscat (that quirk of wine tasting that hardly any wine actually tastes of grapes). The wine was much fuller and richer than I would have expected and it had a delicious nutty finish.

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Food metaphors

Instead of immediately thinking about what food would go with this wine (I’ll fill you in on this a bit later), my thoughts instead turned to food metaphors. I often find this is a useful way to convey what a wine actually tastes like to people who (understandably) don’t find flowery tasting terms particularly helpful. Say, if New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was an intense passion fruit sorbet, a Bordeaux blend was a slice of fruitcake and an Australian Chardonnay was a buttery apple pie, then this Greco Fiano blend would be a pear and almond tart. I’m not saying that it, or any of these wines, taste sweet (far from it), but more that their flavour profiles remind me of the experience of tucking into all of these delicious things. There was just something about this wine that reminded me of crumbly sweet pastry, stewed pears and the sweet subtlety of toasted almonds.

Food matching

But I certainly wouldn’t recommend you drink the Vigneti del Vulture Greco Fiano with a pear and almond tart – its bone dry finish wouldn’t be too complimentary. Instead, drink this with scallops, white fish, or lighter pasta dishes – those that feature pine nuts would go particularly well with the nuttier flavours of the wine.

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So even if you don’t have the foggiest where Basilicata is, you’ve never encountered the Greco or the Fiano grape before, or you think all Italian whites taste like bargain basement Pinot Grigio, then I would still urge you to give the Vigneti del Vulture Greco Fiano a go. Sometimes the most delicious wine can be found in the most unfamiliar bottles.

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