A pair of Fianos… from the same man

Fiano {said fee-ah-no, NOT like piano} is an Italian grape variety hailing from Sicily and the Campania region (think Naples), that grows very well in Australia.  Whilst plantings are still relatively sparse here, this grape has great potential within our food and wine scene.  Its aromatic, minerally and crisp characteristics make it a suitable match for most of our spring/summer dining.   This week I looked at two Fianos, both from Margaret River.  Interestingly, they are both very different from each other, despite being made by the same respected winemaker, Mark Messenger.

2016 Higher Plane Fiano, Margaret River, RRP $25

“White peach, almond meal, white jasmine florals and hints of white nectarine.  Brine.  Tight and lean on the nose, a sour green apple skin character on the palate. Surprisingly plump for the tight acidity and tingly character.  The finish leaves a powdery sensation – almost talcy.  Crisp.  Flavoursome.  Crunchy.  This wine has been met with great acclaim from wine press across Australia – all agree it is a wonderful example of Oz Fiano.  Textural and full.  This has been fermented in old oak which contributes to the texture but leaves no impression of oak on the palate. 90pts, and $25”.

2016 Juniper Estate Small Batch Fiano, Margaret River RRP $25

“At the other end of the spectrum, this is softer more floral on the nose, it has a soapy character and lacks the overt peach aromatics on the nose.  Again, very high acid! I like the salinity here though – very much.  Honeydew melon and nashi pear. Salty. Fresh. Tangy finish. Somewhat mellifluous - pretty. Delicate. Red apple skins. 20% of this wine was barrel fermented – again to increase depth and texture in the wine.  The remaining 80% was fermented in tank to preserve the clean fresh fruit characters.  On this day – the Juniper Estate wine was more to my taste.  92 points, and $25”