Aglianico is one of those rare and slightly obscure varietals that too infrequently make the light of day in a place like Vancouver, British Columbia, over 9000 km away.
Aglianico is both the name for the volcanic soil and the grape which is grown to greatest success upon it... indeed, the most prized vineyards in the province of Potenza, Italy are in the Vulture area; standing in the shadow of the extinct volcano by the same name. And Aglianico has been grown here for not just years, or even centuries, but millenia: thousands of years. Originating in Greece (presumably), the grape has had a long and illustrious career here in the south of Italy, even becoming part of the world's original First Growth wine: Falernian.
Now Aglianico has found a new champion in Cantina di Venosa, a co-operative started in the 1950's in the Aglianico del Vulture D.O.C. which gained it's D.O.C. status in 1971. The grape is certainly the backbone of their production as the vineyards have an unobstructed view of the not-so-distant volcano. Since the 50's the co-operative has grown from only a handful of members to over 500, and yet has remained true to it's original mandate of preserving quality over quantity, and protecting the uniqueness of their prized varietal.
2007 Vignali Aglianico del Vulture D.O.C.
$30 CAD (not widely available) *** Very Good Value ***
vine age: 10 to 20 years old
fermentation: 7-8 days in stainless steel to dryness; malolactic in stainless steel
maturation: French barriques and Solvenian 50 hl barrels for 12 months
decanting: one hour should be sufficient
- visual: clear; moderate garnet core with distinct cherry rim
- nose: clean; moderately intense and developing aromas of leather, red and black berries, savory vanilla and dried herbs (thyme, rosemary, bay leaf)
- palate: clean; dry, moderate+ (crabapple/red currant) acids, moderate+ to full (chalky/grippy) tannins, moderate+ alcohol, moderate body, moderate+ intense and developing flavors that mimick the nose. Very good balance and structure, moderate(+) length
- conclusion: drinking well now with a good concentration of flavors and will develop for the next 2 years... drink 2012-2016
- PAIRINGS: big flavors like this will work well with big food flavors; when I think of the region I naturally think of grilled sausage which also works because the naturally fattiness will balance the moderate acids in the wine
2007 Venosa "Terre di Orazio" Aglianico del Vulture
$35 CAD (not widely available in BC) *** Very Good to Excellent Value ****
vine age : 15 to 30 years old
fermentation : 8 to 10 days in stainless steel; malolactic in stainless steel
maturation : 15 months in French barriques and Slovenian 750 L casks
- visual : clear; pale garnet core with substantial cherry rim
- nose : clean; moderate+ intense and still developing aromas very similar to above but with spicy peppercorn endnotes and slightly hot alcohol
- palate : clean; dry, fully intense (red currant) acids, moderate+ (smooth/velvety) tannins, moderate+ alcohol, moderate+ body, moderate+ intense and developing flavors with the same notes as the nose and with the same end palate of spicy peppercorns. Excellent structure and balance with medium+ length
- conclusion : this is an excellent wine waiting to happen... great concentration of flavors with lively acids and smooth tannins make me think this will drink best in 3 to five years. Drink 2015-2020 and beyond
- PAIRINGS : this wine wants the best red meat possible... consider dry rubbed ribeye steak with savory herbs and white truffle roast potato .... ribeyes have the fat to balance the acids, savory herbs will emphasize the light herbaceousness in the wine and the truffled fungal notes will emphasize through contrast
|the view from Vulture volcano (courtesy Wikipedia)|
As always, I welcome your comments and questions.
CINCIN~!!! SLAINTE~!!! CHEERS~!!!