Reviewer:

Travis Schultz
18 February 2019

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Hastwell & Lightfoot, Fiano 2018

I’ve frequently raved about Italian reds like Amarone, Brunello and Montepulciano, but for the vino bianco lovers out there, that European country shaped like a boot has plenty of unique and approachable varietals to offer as well. In Australia, we hear much about their Pinot Grigio and Moscato, but in my view, it’s styles like Vermentino, Gavi, Orvieto and Fiano that will provide a “real” Italian white experience. It’s such a shame that we rarely have an opportunity to indulge in the delightful aromatics of these lesser known whites.

Treasure is often found in the most unexpected places, so I shouldn’t have been so surprised to stumble across a Fiano from South Australia’s McLaren Vale that serenaded my taste buds last Thursday night. I’ve always thought of the McLaren Vale as a trove for Shiraz and Chardonnay, but with its Mediterranean climate, common sense would support the notion that it’s perfectly suited to the varietals that excel in a warm, maritime climate. Who’d have thought! These days, more and more savvy local producers are adventuring into styles like Vermentino and Fiano and being amply rewarded for taking an open-minded approach to their trade.

It's not a winery that I’ve ever visited personally, but I was intrigued when a bottle arrived in a postpack from Hastwell & Lightfoot, a winery located on Foggo Road about half way between McLaren Vale and McLaren Flat. The Hastwell & Lightfoot vineyards were established in 1988, but it’s only been in more recent years that their Mediterranean range has matured and has hit a note with consumers. Their offering includes Italian and Spanish natives like Barbera, Tempranillo and Vermentino, but I suspect that it will be their Fiano that really puts the winery on the radar of wine lovers across the country.
 
An Italian Fiano is typically aromatic on the nose and somewhat honeyed on the palate, and the Hastwell & Lightfoot is no exception. There are lovely stone fruit and hazelnut characters on the front of the palate and lashings of spicy honeysuckle and herbaceous honeycomb through the middle. And it’s a chewy type; I’d describe it as being of medium to full palate weight though nicely balanced. The acidic, or perhaps, citric edge that evolves on the finish is impossible to ignore. It’s everything you could hope for in a white wine that’s versatile enough to be enjoyed on its own or as a partner for delicate seafoods or perhaps just Friday night fish and chips!

If you prefer a dryer style of white than a sickly Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, but enjoy more body than a Semillon or Riesling, then a Fiano could be the perfect option for you. I’m guessing that the Hastwell & Lightfoot Fiano could potentially be a palate changer for many Australians, and at only $20-$25 a bottle, it won’t be an expensive experiment if I’m wrong!  
Price: $20-$25
Wine Category: Other White
Winery Website: www.hastwellandlightfoot.com.au
Travis Schultz is a wine reviewer for the Sunshine Coast Daily and The Grape Hunter extend their thanks to the Sunshine Coast Daily for allowing re-publication of his reviews
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