Aglianico

The Nebbiolo of the south

Origin: Claimed to have originated in Greece and to have been brought to Italy by settlers, but has no DNA similarities to any known Greek variety*

Grown: Italy (Basilicata and Campania)

Climate: Aglianico loves warm and dry conditions! A grape to keep an eye on in the future when the overall temperature is predicted to rise

Soil: Volcanic soils tends to be its trademark

Viticulture: Best to be careful and keep the yields small, otherwise it might end up being really high in tannins (something to be careful with in cheap wines, cheap is usually equivalent to high yields). Sometimes picked as late as November

Regional names to look for on label:

  • Taurasi DOCG
  • Aglianico del Taburno DOCG
  • Aglianico del Vulture Superiore DOCG

General Personality:

  • Colour: Dark ruby red
  • Aromas: Red roses, sour red or black cherries, herbs, smoke and Christmas spices
  • Taste and Texture: Full bodied, high tannins and acidity, generally high alcohol to balance structure
  • Conclusion: A power wine! Not one for the faint of heart or for the ones sensitive to tannins. This is a wine for the people who love their coffee black a strong. Can be a bit to overpowering on its own when young, but with some time or the right food, it is well worth the effort
  • Future: Be patient, with this kind of structure and flavour, you are not in a hurry to drink it. We are talking up to 15-20 years stored well. That is, if you made an investment, cheaper alternatives will most likely not have that kind of structure. If you love high tannins wines, it might also be hard to keep

Food pairings:

  • General: This would be a traditional meat eater wine, which means the food needs fat and protein to stand up to the structure (the sometimes a bit aggressive tannins) of the wine. Avoid species, delicate food and high acidity components
  • Obvious pairing: Lasagna
    And yes, you can easily make a completely vegan lasagna. For me, I love this recipe, but heads up, make a double batch of the Savoury Cashew Cream, because you are likely to finish half before it is in the oven
  • On the wild side: Osso Buco
    That is without the veal. My favourite is this one with a bunch of mushrooms. I might have changed the recipe a bit when trying, using a red wine instead for the reduction and adding orange zest instead of lemon

* study performed by researchers at Milan University