It has been 22 years since the Lloyd family planted the first fiano vine in McLaren Vale, with the unique climate of the region encouraging wines of aromatic richness and textural depth.
However, the varietal fiano actually traces its origins to the warmer coastal regions of southern Italy, where it is believed to have been cultivated since at least Roman times.
Now, Beresford Wines has just released its new Emblem Fiano – the winery’s first for the varietal – and head winemaker Chris Dix said it is a testament to the remarkable growth of fiano in the region.
“I have to say our Emblem Fiano is a reflection of that journey our whole region has been on,” Dix said.
“As for the Roman link, it’s just incredible that we can have such an enduring connection to past civilisations.”
Fiano sits somewhere between a semillon and viognier, and can present in one of two ways, dependent on the winemaker – light and fresh or full-bodied and textural.
Dix has opted to emphasise the brightness of the varietal.
“Fiano really shines in McLaren Vale and ours leans towards a lighter, juicier style, boasting vibrant fruity notes like apple and citrus,” Dix said.
A cold vintage meant the grapes were delayed in ripening, solidifying the low pH levels and high total acidity that are characteristic of the grapes.
The fruit was harvested in early April, sourced from the Michael Petrucci Family Vineyard in McLaren Vale, and to preserve its freshness and minimise oxidation, picking occurred during the early morning hours.
Gentle pressing released the free-run juice, which was immediately sent for fermentation without any skin contact.
The slow and extended fermentation at below 20°C extracted floral notes and a vibrant freshness, following which the wine was matured for three months in a stainless-steel tank, resting on fine lees.
“It’s got a nice, easy-drinking, light to medium body, and the acidity tends to hold up remarkably well, so it’s sure to make for a delightful summer sipping experience,” Dix said.
The Emblem Fiano is also vegan friendly, relying on vegetable protein for fining. And it is perfect for drinking now.
The wine’s tasting notes describe a bouquet where “jasmine and honeysuckle intertwine with the freshness of green apple, nashi pear and white peach” with hints of citrus, lemongrass and pineapple.
On the palate “fresh citrus, nectarine and the crispness of green apple take centre stage,” while “ginger and a sprinkle of white pepper on the back palate add a layer of complexity”.
Dix said while chardonnay was the main white varietal grown in the McLaren Vale region, winemakers were using alternative whites, such as fiano and vermentino, to set their product apart from other regions or producers.
“This can be especially important in a saturated wine market,” he said, adding the change was also driven by market demand.
“McLaren Vale, like many other wine regions worldwide, benefits from providing a wide range of wines to cater to diverse consumer tastes.
“While chardonnay enjoys popularity, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
“By nurturing other white grape varieties, winemakers can expand their selection and reach a broader audience.”
Some alternative white grape varieties are well-suited to McLaren Vale’s specific climate and soil.
Fiano and vermentino thrive in warm, sunny climates with good drainage, making them a reliable choice for McLaren Vale growers.
“Fiano’s loose bunches not only make it easier to manage diseases, but also the small, thick-skinned berries and high natural acidity give the wine loads of personality, fantastic flavours and wonderful textures,” Dix said.
The release of the Emblem Fiano follows on the announcements of Beresford Estate’s new luxury, onsite accommodation as an accommodation finalist in the South Australian Tourism Awards and a finalist in the SA Life Absolute Best awards in the category Absolute Best Luxury Experience.
Beresford Wines will be showcasing the new Fiano during their summer series of Lavish Lawns on selected Sundays before Christmas and during their Sunset Sessions on Friday evenings.
Book for Lavish Lawns and Sunset Sessions here.
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