with its rich texture, fresh citrus and floral notes, and saline acid drive, fiano is the perfect middle ground between riesling and chardonnay. It has also proven itself as an adaptable and versatile variety to Australia’s vineyards and wineries. We blind-tasted 34 examples, finding wines of complexity and sheer individuality. Here are our top 12.
2019 Lino Ramble Ludo Fiano, McLaren Vale, A$25
Andy Coppard and Ange Townsend are behind Lino Ramble and some of McLaren Vale’s most fascinating wines. This fiano is unique by definition: dried thyme, sage and rosemary, with lemon pith and hazelnut, saltwater and lime leaf. It has great grip and a long finish.
2020 Bondar Fiano, McLaren Vale, A$28
Kudos to the Bondars who bottled this a week before we tasted it. Bright citrus notes – lemon, lime and mandarin – with an undertow of dried herbs, makrut lime leaf, honey and vanilla essence. Its cool, slippery texture is tempered by mouth-watering acidity, with bitter almond and manuka honey to close.
2019 Collector Summer Swarm Fiano, Hilltops, A$28
Here’s a wine of optimum refreshment, defined by crispness and transparency of flavour. It’s savoury, dry, grippy and citrusy, with thyme and basil, lemon rind and dried pineapple. It would be perfect on a summer’s day with a huge plate of fresh seafood.
2019 Coriole Rubato Reserve Fiano, McLaren Vale, A$50
Coriole’s premium fiano sees fermentation in seasoned oak, really turning the textural element up to 11, but it’s also pretty with its honeysuckle and citrus floral aromas. A generous wine with brazen (but not overdone) acidity and a charming, sea spray-fresh finish.
2018 Grosset Apiana Fiano, Clare Valley, A$40
From Australia’s most celebrated riesling producer comes this fiano, offering up notes of fresh citrus, beeswax and – coincidentally – a faint kerosene character, framed by chalky texture. A great and distinctive wine.
2020 Oliver’s Taranga Fiano, McLaren Vale, A$27
Corrina Wright’s take on fiano has become something of a go-to, year in year out: it’s consistently good and downright delicious. The nose is all lemon pith and rind with lime leaf complexities but the palate is almost entirely different, with sweet but gently bitter honey, and citrus, spice and herb flavours.
2019 Higher Plane Fiano, Margaret River, A$25
You’d be happy sitting by the mouth of the Margaret River sipping on this beauty, with its wet slate and sea spray scents underpinned by zesty lemon pulp. It’s tight and lemony up front, but the palate broadens with richness and juiciness, with lovely faint grip, and lime leaf and grapefruit flavours.
2019 Hart & Hunter Dr B’s Fiano, Hunter Valley, A$30
One of the Hunter’s best examples of fiano, this is all about freshness. It has beautiful, flowing texture, gliding along with saline acid, lemon rind phenolics, manuka honey and thyme. There’s a note of crushed Thai basil on the exit and a distinct mineral finish.
2019 St Brioc Wine Co Fiano, McLaren Vale, A$28
There’s great varietal composure here. It sits in the sweet and sour spectrum, with flavours darting between lemon and ginger, and honey and flowers. A total sensory pleasure that would be best amplified by a table in the sun and a plate of crab linguine.
2019 Sassafras Fiano, Hilltops, A$30
Paul Starr produces some spectacular pét-nats under his Sassafras label but his table wines are no less refined. This is all citrus, honeysuckle and jasmine, with a whiff of sea spray and mandarin flesh. It’s pitch perfect.
2018 Witches Falls Wild Ferment Fiano, Granite Belt, A$35
A detailed wine from the cool climes of the Granite Belt. Manuka honey and a touch of eucalyptus; musk and wet sand. All floral and honeyed with thyme and pepper. Outstanding.
2019 Unico Zelo Panda Panda Fiano, Adelaide Hills, A$33
From the country’s most illustrious fiano producer comes this floral and off-dry take on the grape. Its viscous and almost silky texture is offset by fresh grapefruit acid and honey-like sweetness. A wonderfully unique example.