Gaia Passi and Giacomo Ciani Bassetti are just two of the five friends that came together to make FIOL Prosecco ($15.60 – LCBO# 394577). Hatched together over a Christmas break a few years ago, the group of friends from Treviso reached back into their respective families’ deep roots in winemaking to create a wine that reflected the spirit of their friendship and the culture of their beloved Veneto region. I met them over lunch recently in Toronto, as a guest of their Ontario agency, and we tasted the wine and discussed its origins.
Fiol in the Venetian dialect means “son”, but also Ciani Bassetti explained “cool guy” (the closest English equivalent would be, I think, “my boy” or “sonny”, but it seems mean something more like to “dude”). Passi added that you can’t call yourself fiol it’s only a term of endearment your friends can bestow on you, but must be earned. If the brand was successful, the founders reasoned, then it would deserve its name.
While the Ciani Bassetti and Passi families have been making wine in Northeast Italy for hundreds of years, FIOL is very much made in the modern Prosecco style. It’s light with a fine mousse. It tastes first of citrussy zing, then mellows into sweeter pear notes. Although it’s ‘Extra Dry’, meaning there is more sugar in the bottle than a ‘Brut’, you’d never know it: it’s a very well balanced wine that keeps the palate fresh and alive. It’s a wonderful expression of what Prosecco can and should be: refreshing, low in alcohol (11.8% a.b.v.), and affordable. At $15.60 a bottle, FIOL is very competitively priced for a well made wine.
One area where Ciani Bassetti and Passi and I did not entirely agree on was ove the matter of FIOL’s cocktail program. Over lunch, I was presented with FIOL’s particular formulation for an Aperol Spritz, in this case eschewing Aperol’s classic 3:2:1 recipe for a 1:1:1 mix of FIOL, Aperol and soda with a double garnish of orange slice and green olive. It was delicious, and I understand why they’d want to celebrate the great aperetif drink of the Veneto (they also have a take on the other great Venetian classic the Bellini, among other drinks – see FIOL’s Mixology page here). But, I’d just as soon sip it straight from the glass.