Posted by: tomciocco | April 16, 2012


There’s a lot to unpack in that title, for sure…I recently posted about the postulate that Italy possesses a figurative list of aromatic grape varieties longer than any other place on earth, and right on cue here’s another one to add to that list that I’ve not only never tasted prior to pulling the cork on the bottle this evening, but I had never even heard of either.

The next point of  disambiguation is the name. This grape is known by quite a few names actually, but the two most diffuse are “Fiano Minutolo” (fee-AH-no  mee-NOO-toh-loh) or just “Minutolo” which if the powers that be in Avellino (the home to the far more famous and completely different Fiano di Avellino variety) have any say in the matter all, will be the one they settle on to be sure. This “fiano” actually hails from the opposite, southeastern side of the Italian peninsula in mostly flat, fertile, and flamingly hot region of Puglia which is arguably the region least known for the production of white wines, but that, as the saying goes, is a story for another time…

The origins of this grape are perhaps even more obscure than the grape itself, but at least on the level of aroma and flavor (but only in part to be sure) there’s a kinship with the Moscatos, but unlike that side of the family (if it is even part of that family at all), Minutolo is typically vinfied dry – revealing a very deeply tart and bitter dryness – that partially supplants and serves to cut through the effusive floral and overripe fruit characteristics of the wine. And the list gets longer by one…

I served this racy rarity with the most Pugliese of pasta shapes – orecchiette – with a sauce I made from some leftover sand dabs I baked in a tomato/herb sauce and some added peas, and then spiedini di pollo (chicken kebabs) marinated with veggies and wine and then napped in a thickened anchovy and caper sauce, and then grilled, a recipe which I adapted from one for rabbit (why is it so expensive?) and and a side of pan roasted asparagus.









Polvanera Fiano Minutolo Puglia IGT 2010

Very pale gold color with a slightly coppery tinge. Popping, clean nose of pear nectar, tropical fruit punch, honeydew melon, floral perfume, fresh cut grass, sea spray, and just a whiff of light caramel. The entrance on the palate is an explosive mix of Meyer lemon, lime zest, vanilla bean,  quince and apricot  jam. Despite the forward flavors the medium-light body is elegantly lively and expressive, with a tart, piercing acidity and a long finish that lingers with clear flavors of dried herbs and roasted nuts.


  1. Excellent wine, very good description. We visited Polvanera three years ago and loved most of their wines, especially this and the Aglianico. The U.S. importer, Jan D’Amore, has a marvelous portfolio of small producers like this. You are lucky to be able to buy them in NY/NJ area.

  2. Yeah, Jan’s a great guy, and his portfolio adheres to the same “honest”/authocthonous philosophy that I’ve always promoted myself.

  3. Just came back from Puglia. Had a tasting of wines made from the Fiano Minutolo grape from the producer Tujiano, Colli della Murgai. From what I understood they had to label the wines Fiano Minutolo IGT and could not just use the name Minutolo

    • Hey Charles! Hope all is well…Yes, I think the production of Fiano Minutolo is only permissible under the IGT label because it is not included in the official “disciplinare” of any D.O.C. Why the name “Fiano Minutolo” is required over just “Minutolo”, considering that the variety has no connection with Fiano di Avellino, and could easily be confused with it is a real head scratcher, but we have to remember that many things emanating from the Bel Paese are thus.

      • Ciao Tom, Yes all is well. I am doing a lot of traveling to Italy
        Hope ali is well with you

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