Obscure Wine Grapes: Fiano and Greco

The Greco grape, sometimes known as Trebianno, is thought to have been planted in Southern Italy by the Greeks at the beginning of recorded history. It's now called Greco di Tufo after the town of Tufo in Southern Italy. Some historians believe that the other white wine varietals of Southern Italy, including Fiano, may have descended from wild crosses of the Greco grape. The Fiano grape was popular with the ancient Romans, who called it vitis apiana because its sweet juices attracted apis, or bees.

Fiano wines have a floral aroma and honey flavor, while Greco di Tufo wines are drier and nuttier with more tannins. Wines from the two grapes are traditionally blended together in Puglia, the region in the heel of the Italian boot. The Greco di Tufo gives the resulting wine a fine structure that keeps the sweet flavors and aromas of the Fiano from getting insipid. The balanced, easy-drinking wine is a perfect summer aperitif or an accompaniment to light meals like salads and cold seafood. I got this bottle at H-E-B for ten dollars and change.

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