Slate Farm Fiano
Any new variety to Australia of potential must show a few prerequisite characteristics - acid retention in our warm climate (to avoid having to 'trick up' the wine in the winery) and great water use efficiency (because we have no water!). Quite often overlooked are two other prerequisites - having a width of breadth of style within the one variety (think, the diversity of Chenin Blanc from Sparkling, Sweet, Dry) - and most importantly - the ability to translate where it is grown in an organoleptic fashion. i.e. we want to taste the vineyard! Until now, we had only ventured into the Riverland to find what little Fiano plantings there are in South Australia. We wanted to challenge the hypothesis that Fiano is one variety that truly satisfies all our criteria for a great and noble variety in Australia. So, we went to Clare Valley.We spend a fair amount of time in Clare Valley, particularly Polish Hill River where we source some amazing Dolcetto and Nebbiolo (and a little Barbera). But we never knew that Fiano was planted just 2km north of that vineyard! It made harvest rather easy to achieve. Here - Fiano seems to ripen earlier than the Riverland - probably on account of heat waves close to harvest in 2015. Hand-harvested, and spending little time on skins (18 hours) - it was wild-fermented in 100% stainless, and allowed to sit on lees for 3 months. Although this isn't much of a deviation of our normal winemaking; what has resulted is a completely different style of Fiano. Rich and robust, yet kept completely in check with a herbal, basil pesto-driven aroma (a hallmark of this variety) - and certainly not lacking in acidity or the typical waxy texture. Nevertheless, our learning of this variety continues and is now reinforced by the fact that this variety truly does translate it's site, in the glass.