Aglianico is said to be an Italianization of “Hellenic” meaning “from Greece”. It has been the big bruiser on the block in Campania (think Naples and Vesuvius), Basilicata (just inland from there) and parts of Puglia for almost literally forever. Often called “The Barolo of the South”, it is a very structured wine that can age for decades while continuously developing more complex perfumes as the tannins soften out. We have examples ranging from medium bodied and quaffable Pugliese bottlings to amazing fifteen year old Riservas from famed Taurasi producer Struzziero.
Got Value? Luca Botter does…
After happening on some of his wines in a liquidation few years ago (and you making them into a sensation and demolishing them in weeks), we met Luca Botter later that year in Verona (and then he visited us here at the store a week later). He is young, really excited about wine and seems to like what we are doing so we decided to do it together. His company is a third generation family wine business with vineyards and multiple cantine, not just a big negotiant buy and bottling bulk wines. All of the labels are very well priced and designed to make a nice impression on the table (both flavor and package wise).
Picco del Sole Aglianico Beneventano 2008, Campania
Classic everyday pizza, pasta and burger wine, this has deep color, a soft, round mouthfeel and flavors of dark red fruits with a hint of volcanic earth in the background.
Sannino Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Herculaneum 2005, Campania
Lacryma Christi?!?!? The legend is that God was so struck by the sheer beauty of the Bay of Naples that he cried and the tears became the vines on the slope of the volcano. Like many real estate pitches, this one is a little over the top. But the wines are delicious: this Rosso blasts the wild berry fruit and spicy aromatics of Piedirosso and Sciascinoso on the nose, anchored by enough Aglianico to give it some heft, smoke and a firmly dry meaty finish.
Sannino Aglianico Beneventano Herculaneum 2003, Campania
This spicy, zesty but not too heavy red is perfect for burgers and red sauce pastas or the results of a back yard hunting expedition. It’s not picky, it just wants something VERY flavorful and hearty….NOW! Aglianico: real wine for real food!
Azienda Agricola Fratelli Urciuolo, Forino, Campania
Antonello and Cirò Urciuolo (in cahoots with consultant enologists Carmine Valentino) are on a steep upward path of both quality and fame. Remember you saw them here first!
Urciuolo Arbosto Rosso 2009, Campania
These guys make a killer Taurasi (see below) but this is what they drink around the house everyday: a smooth but zesty Aglianico / Montepulciano mix with big body and full flavor that is very easy to drink and VERY well priced as well. Bravo Belli!
Urciuolo Taurasi 2004, Campania
Nearly as deep and dense as Sagrantino, this 100% Aglianico is not for the meek and really deserves some combination of: a great steak, some time in the cellar, an hour or two in the decanter and really good friends. Outstanding value in this day of $150+ cabs and off the charts Bordeaux….
Azienda Vinacola Struzziero Giovanni, Venticano, Campania
This cantina was established in the heart of the Taurasi zona near Mt. Vesuvius in 1920 by the grandfather of the current proprietor (great grandfather of the current winemaker, Mario). Giovanni began production of DOC wines in 1970, carefully vinifying only his best grapes hand harvested from their 13 hectares of vines. Mario is now leading the cantina into the future with the same insistence on quality and traditional style that has made this cantina famous for nearly a century.
One of the many benefits of an established winery like this one is that, without the pressure to raise cash to pay off the initial investments paid off long ago, they have literally MILLIONS of bottles in their cellars and are thus able to release tranches of their top wines with some serious age on them (see the Tarausi below).
Struzziero Taurasi Riserva Campoceraso 1993, Campania
Struzziero Taurasi Riserva Campoceraso 2001, Campania
One taste of this and you will understand why Taurasi is often called “The Barolo of the South”: it may be light in color but it is PACKED with savory flavors and aromas of dried cherry, meat, earth, spices and smoke. The harsh tannins of its youth have mellowed into a silky, dry finish that just leaves you wanting more…now!
Struzziero Taurasi Villafosca 1997, Campania
All of the attributes of the wine above taken to a whole ‘nother level. VERY limited, worth it!
Struzziero Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso, Campania
Bright, zesty Piedirosso (85%) meets deeper, earthier Aglianico in a fabulously food friendly blend greater than the sum of its parts. Grill up some sausages, whip up a hearty pasta dish or grab a burger, this wine will make it all better. Plus: long experience has taught us that a smoldering volcano on the label is always a VERY good sign!