2017 Lago di Merlo Fiano
We picked the Fiano early in the season, at a low sugar content which keeps this wine lower in alcohol, and bright with acidity. In order to balance out the mouth feel we barrel fermented the Fiano and left it to age “sur lie” in neutral oak until bottling. This added layers of complexity and weight to the palate which shows mandarin, almond torte, and perfume.
What is Fiano you may be wondering? It is an Italian grape, grown in the Campania region of Southern Italy. Ours comes from the Lago di Merlo Vineyard, which sits on a striking hillside in the north end of Dry Creek Valley. In and amongst a hundred or so planted acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and Primitivo, they have one small acre planted to Fiano, a true Italian clone that was “suitcased” over about twenty years ago. A new varietal for us meant some different winemaking techniques. Two thirds of this wine was foot tread (think I love Lucy), then the juice left on the skins for 24 hours before pressing. The remaining portion was fermented on the skins as though they were red grapes. We used these techniques to take advantage of the beautiful aromatics in the skins, as well as add layers and texture to the finished wine.