Critter Wine for Grown Ups
Porconero Fiano 2015
Normally I don’t buy wines based on labels. Actually, let me rephrase: normally, I don’t buy wines with animals on their labels.
See, there was this whole fad in the early aughts in which wine marketers thought it was a brilliant idea to stick animals on cheap wine and call it a day (I’m looking at you Aussies). And, of course, people lapped it up. Critter wines were all the rage for a good decade. You know you’ve bought at least a few over the years; I know I did. (The early aughts were weird.)
Here’s the thing: most critter wines are horrible. Okay, maybe not horrible, but they’re more like a wine beverage than anything else. They’re usually full of chemicals, fake tannins, and food colouring (yes, all of that is legal and no, wineries don’t have to put these additives on the labels – it’s a problem). They’re manufactured and pleasurable to drink, sure, but they’re also the reason you think that red wine gives you a headache or that all wine is sweet.
So when I reached onto the shelf, drawn to this adorable little piggy, I had to check myself. (Wouldn’t want to wreck myself.)
Luckily for all of us, the cute label wasn’t a mere distraction. The bottle contains some of the most delightful Southern Italian white wine I’ve had the pleasure of drinking. It’s organic and biodynamic, low alcohol (11.8% what?!), salty, flavourful, crisp, and oh so delicious. It’s the kind of white wine that will make you fall in love with white wine. It’s subtle but evocative and I’ve decided to hoard it.
I don’t have much experience with Fiano but it’s got a long history. Like Greek mythology long. Although it fell out of favour for awhile because it’s low yielding (so more expensive to produce), it’s back and better than ever! And apparently it can age into beautifully complex wines. Unlike some Italian whites that can be a bit same same, this one’s got character. You’ll probably want to sip it rather than chug it, no matter how hot and thirsty you are. It’s that good.
I might’ve enjoyed my first bottle of this beaut while screaming at Riverdale with my girlfriends, but I’ll likely cellar at least one bottle for at least one year and enjoy a few others over the summer. It’s really so versatile and delicious and I can’t wait to see what it turns into.
Can’t say that of any (other) critter wines.
Nose: Salty, lime, under-ripe pineapple, herbs, and spring flowers.
Palate: The nose totally follows. It’s saltier than any wine I’ve had in a while (must be all that volcanic soil) with puckering acidity that’s balanced by a really lovely texture. It’s all tinned pineapple and lemon-lime citrus blossom without ever threatening to become fruity. This is a savoury wine, full of herbs and minerals. Think of the fruit as the garnish that unites the whole. Drink it cold, drink it slowly, drink it often.