Fiano is a white Italian grape that not all winemakers rush around to get their hands on. But expert winemaker Barry Jackson loves to produce anything that contains the noble grape, and he turned some splendid Fiano fruit from Mann Vineyards in Gilroy into a notable libation.
A high-quality white Italian grape variety grown mostly in the Campania region of southern Italy, Fiano is a pretty strong-flavored white wine with intense floral aromas and notes of honey and spice. I first happened to try Jackson’s intriguing Fiano 2014 when in his tasting room to sample his Equinox sparkling wines.
I always enjoy a glass of wine when I’m cooking, and absolutely loved a pouring of the Fiano before I paired it with some baked halibut, sautéed potatoes and green salad—quite a delicious match, I might say. Fiano can be nutty and rich, and some people find it piney and herbaceous. Jackson’s well-made Fiano is extremely flavorful with a lovely smoky minerality. And why not venture out and try lesser-known food and wine? At Andre’s Bouchee in Carmel a couple of weeks ago, we had an amazing tartine with bone marrow, snails on toast, wild mushrooms, garlic, bee balm, and black radish—a culinary feat by Chef Benoit Petel, and an exciting blend of flavors.
The Fiano sells for $26 a bottle and you can find it at the Equinox/Bartolo tasting room on the Westside. Jackson and his wife Jennifer recently moved into the busy Surf City Vintners complex from their previous location on Swift Street. They’re right opposite Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing.
Equinox/Bartolo, 334 Ingalls St., Unit C, Santa Cruz, 471-8608. equinoxwine.com
Eat Like A Greek
What!? You’ve never tasted fasolatha, papoutsakia, pastitsio or youvarlakia? Well, now’s your chance. All these dishes and more can be found at the Eat Like A Greek Food Faire as you listen to the Spartan Band playing melodic Greek music. This three-day event proudly serves authentic Greek food, which is not easy to find elsewhere, and the Greek taverna offers imported Greek spirits, wine and beer, and local selections. So mark your calendars for May 13, 14 and 15 and head to Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church in downtown Santa Cruz. Admission is free. Visit livelikeagreek.com for more info.