Who here knows knows a lot about grape variety Aglianico? Not me that is for sure. My favourite Italian wine reference book “The New Italy” tells me that it was introduced by the Greeks into Campania and it spread to Basilicata and Puglia. It makes full bodied, well structured and generous wines that age gracefully. It highlights Taurasi DOCG and Aglianico del Vulture DOC as two examples to watch out for.
Being from the Southern regions of Italy I was not expecting elegance and finesse like Barolo or Barbaresco, or the lightness of fruit but density and savoury core of Chianti. But my favourite tasting reference – my palate – tells me it is a substantially good variety. Very reminiscent of good quality Australian warm climate Shiraz in terms of weight, balance and structure. But with the more typical Italian savouriness, texture and refreshing acidity.
Having bought some for a customer I tried some myself, here is what I thought.
Donato D’Angelo studied oenology in Conegliano (Veneto) and has been the winemaker since the 1970’s and a guiding light to the other producers in Basilicata. In the 1980’s, the D’Angelo’s purchased a five hectare vineyard named Caselle where the aglianico now goes to craft the Aglianico del Vulture ‘Caselle’ Riserva, highlighting the salty, mineral terroir that Basilicata reds are noted for.
This wine has all of the classic Aglianico characters. Dark fruits, earth and mineral edge. The palate is dry, tasting of the earth with plenty of tannin and acid. The wine is well balanced and this wine will live for a long time yet.