- 100% Fiano
The estate of Pierluigi Zampaglione is part of the history of the area of Alta Irpinia, near Calitri. From 1990, it was amongst the first farms in Southern Italy to be converted to organic farming. In 2006 Don Chisciotte was created, a natural wine produced with certified organic 100% Fiano. This grape varietal has to adapt to the high altitude (800m), the poor windswept soil and extremes of temperature.
Pierluigi Zampaglione calls his organic Fiano wine Don Chisciotte for a reason. People thought he was crazy. Plant grapes? Cultivate the low yielding delicate and noble Apianum on a windswept slope deep in the heart of Eastern Irpinia? While not exactly insanity, they said it was a stretch to imagine. The Eastern Irpinian region has been many things to various peoples throughout history but it has never been thought of as a good place for producing fine wine.
Pierluigi of course wanted to write his own story - Under the force of an enchantment (or was it’ il tocco femminile’?) Pierluigi Zampaglione took to planting Fiano on his family’s contrada Tufiello, about 8 kilometers from the nearest town, about 10 years ago.
Irpina is dry and temperate most summers, her rolling fields made golden by drying wheat, are much warmer in autumn. Come winter, desolation sets in and the area becomes nearly uninhabitable by all but the bravest men. Pierliugi produces a good wine from an ancient grape planted in a place that was never expected to yield such results.
‘Il tocco femminile’, Nerina (his wife) says, applies also to the delicacy of their Fiano - a decision to produce a light-bodied fragrant wine without overpowering or overcomplicating the palate; fermented without the use of chemicals with only organic yeast.
Made in a natural style — i.e. organically farmed, with no additions of yeast, enzymes, or chemicals; limited use of sulfur — it’s also fermented on its skins, where it acquires a distinctive golden-orange hue. This is an unusual wine — not for everyone, but certainly interesting and worth checking out. On top of apple/ stone fruit flavors and the gripping texture from the skin fermentation, we noticed a curious spice component, sort of like curry. Pretty groovy stuff we think.