Visiting Cantine Ciani
The weather in Naples was sunny with just a slight chill in the air as Michele and I with 3 friends waited for Armando Ciani to pick us up and drive us to his family winery high above Naples. I first met Armando at a tasting and dinner of his wines in NYC with Eugenio Cannata and Jef Quinn (Quintiliani) who are partners with Armando and the Ciani Family. They are helping to revamp the winery and export the wines all over the world.
I liked Armando’s wines and told him I would be in Naples in a few months. He said I must visit the winery, and so the visit was arranged. As we drove Armando told us about the winery, mentioning how different the weather was from Naples. As we got closer to the winery it became cloudy and it began to rain and it became much colder. He said this is because we were at 500 meters above sea level.
The family house dates back to 1700, and it has a wine cellar from 1300. Grapes were planted by the Ciani family in 1948 on vertical trellises in Irpinia.
In 2006 Armando completed the new wine cellar with temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. There are about 180 oak barrels of different sizes in the cellar including French barriques and Italian tonneaux and botti grandi (large barrels).
After the visiting the cellar we tasted the wines in Armando’s home
Fiano di Avellino DOCG 2016 100% Fiano di Avellino from vineyards at 600 meters in Lapio Town (Arianello District). The grapes are harvested when fully ripe and are soft pressed and thermo-vinified at 15 C. The wine is aged 12 months in steel and two months in barrel before release. This is an elegant wine with hint of citrus fruit, almonds and floral notes. We also tasted the Fiano di Avellino “Elisir” 2010 which was showing no signs of age.
Greco di Tufo 100% Greco di Tufo 2018 The production area is Montefusco, Chianche and Petruro Irpinia. The grapes are grown at 500/600 meters and the training system is espalier. The wine is aged for 12 months in stainless steel and two months in bottle before release. This is a complex wine with hints of citrus, apricot and a touch of honey. In NYC I tasted the 2012 – this is a white wine that can age.
Irpinia Rosato 2010 I tasted in NYC and it was showing no signs of age. I tasted the 2018 at the winery. Made from 100% Aglianco. There is a very light pressing of the grapes to get a pale pink Lacrima Rosè. Harvest is between the end of October and the beginning of November. The wine is aged for 12 months in stainless steel and 2 months in bottle before release.
Taurasi DOCG 2008 100% Aglianico from the Mirabella Eclano area. The vineyard is on a steep slope and the exposure is west. Armando said this gives good drainage and good exposure to sunlight. Harvest takes place by hand at the beginning of November. The wine is aged for 14 to 16 months in Allier and Slavonia oak barrels) barriques, tonneaux and barrels of 25HL. The wine is then aged in stainless steel for 12 months and 12 months in bottle before release. This is a full and balanced wine with hints of blackberry, blackcurrants and spice with a long finish.
We also tasted the Taurasi Vinanda “Dicatus” 2006 which was showing very well and it is a wine that will age.
Everyone enjoyed the visit and the wines. Armando said the wines are not in the U. S. at this time but his American partners are busy looking for an importer/distributor and hope they find one soon.