Friday, May 25, 2018
Wine School At Asta: Theresa Paopao Presents Fiano
If you want to learn more about Fiano, then I strongly recommend you visit Asta, a tasting menu restaurant located at 47 Massachusetts Ave. in Boston. Theresa Paopao, Asta's sommelier, has recently started a Wine School, an afternoon wine lounge inspired by New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov’s monthly column. Asta's Wine School is in session from Tuesday to Friday, from 4pm-7pm. Recently, my good friend Adam Japko and I stopped by Asta to check out the new Wine School and we both were equally impressed.
Back on April 26, Asimov's Wine School post dealt with Fiano, so this month, Theresa is highlighting that grape. Theresa has selected seven Fiano wines, from the Campania region of Italy, to showcase, six single-varietal and one blend. All of the wines are offered by the glass, though you can also order a horizontal or vertical flight of three wines. I'd suggest you try the flights, as comparison tastings are an excellent way to better understand the various expressions of a grape. Not all Fiano wines are the same.
This Wine School is completely causal and informal, and Theresa will provide you as much, or as little, information as you desire about Fiano and the wines. Theresa is very knowledgeable and personable, and is a fine host for wine school. Her own passion for wine can be infectious and you won't regret stopping by to taste some wines.
In addition, Wine School offers a small list of à la carte dishes which have been specifically created to pair well with your wine. We ordered a few of the dishes and they were delicious, the usual high quality we expect from Asta. The Whipped Salt Cod, atop toast, is a relatively simple dish, but was well executed and addictive. Creamy and salty, with that touch of the sea, it did pair very well with the various Fiano wines. And it is something I'd love to replicate at home. The Pickled Mussels were another relatively simple dish, beautifully executed, and absolutely tasty. The Octopus, atop a Johnnycake, was cooked perfectly, being tender and flavorful. Fiano and seafood is an excellent combination!
In 2003, the area around Avellino in Campania received DOCG status. Fiano di Avellino DOCG wines must contain at least 85% Fiano, and the rest may include Coda di Volpe, Greco, and Trebbiano. Fiano, which produces low yields in the vineyard, faced possible extinction in the later half of the 20th century, but a small group of producers chose to save it, planting more vineyards, especially in the Avellino region. Fiano wines are commonly said to possess intense aromas and strong flavors, and can age well.
My favorite of the three (though I enjoyed all of them) was the Vadiaperti, as besides being simply delicious, it possessed an intriguing complexity, with notes of honey, pear, apple and lemon, bright acidity, mineral elements, and salted nuts. I could easily enjoy this wine on its own, though it went well with the seafood as well.
Theresa did a great job of selecting wines for her Fiano Wine School and you can still taste the wines tonight or next week at Asta. Next month, Theresa will follow the theme of Asimov's next Wine School article, so look forward to see which region, grape or style gets chosen. Asta's new Wine School is a great way to casually taste and learn about some new wines, while enjoying some delectable small plates, paired with the wines.