glianico is a big wine: dark, full-bodied, strong, rich, deep, with the high tannin levels and high acidity that make it an excellently ageable wine. Owing to its tannins and concentration, it can be on the rough side when young, and typically wants at least a few years of bottle age to start showing its fruit and, in general, reaching its great potential.
For Rosato, minimum approx. 4–5 months; for Rosso, minimum 2 years; for Riserva, minimum 3 years, including 12 months in barrel
74 ha / 183 acres (2014)
1,800 hl / 20,000 cases (2014)
Minimum alcohol level:
12.0% for Rosato and Rosso; 13.0% for Riserva
Aglianico makes full bodied elegant wines with firm tannins and high acidity.
glianico is a red-wine grape originating in Greece (though no longer found there) but developed chiefly in its present home, southern Italy, notably the Basilicata and Campania regions.
There is a highly regarded DOCG (Italian wine appellation), Aglianico del Vulture, in Basilicata; there is now also a DOCG Aglianico del Vulture Superiore. In Campania, there is the Taurasi DOCG, another respected type.
The del Vulture must legally be 100% Aglianico; the Taurasi may contain up to 15% of a certain few other reds (Barbera is most often used, though Piedirosso and Sangiovese sometimes show up as well).
Aglianico is a major grape, often called "the Barolo of the South". Jancis Robinson, in her Guide to Wine Grapes, does not show Aglianico as quite reaching the highest heights, and we have followed by not boldfacing it at the left; but there are not a few wine fanciers who would disagree and designate the grape "world class".
It is now being grown in a few new World areas, notably California but also Texas and Australia (it is most definitely a warm-climate grape). It seems to do especially well on volcanic soils (which drain very well, and Aglianico seems to like dry roots).
Aglianico is a big wine: dark, full-bodied, strong, rich, deep, with the high tannin levels and high acidity that make it an excellently ageable wine. Owing to its tannins and concentration, it can be on the rough side when young, and typically wants at least a few years of bottle age to start showing its fruit and, in general, reaching its great potential.
Good specimens tend to taste of dark fruit (cherries and plums are often mentioned), frequently with the overtones of chocolate often found in big red wines. Good examples can readily age for a decade or two to their advantage.
Aglianico was the dominant grape in the well-known ancient Roman Falernian wine—which, curiously, was a white wine (the white-wine grape now known as Greco di Tufo was the other component). DNA analysis suggests that Aglianico and Syrah are related.
Some Descriptions of Aglianico Wines
"Wines produced from Aglianico tend to be full-bodied with firm tannins and high acidity, endowing them with good aging potential. The rich flavors of the wine make it appropriate for pairing with rich meats such as lamb. In Campania, the grape has been blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the production of some Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) wines. In its youth, Aglianico is very tannic and concentrated, requiring a few years of aging before it can be approachable. As it ages, the fruit becomes more pronounced and the tannins more balanced with the rest of the wine. The trademark coloring of the wine is a deep garnet. In well made examples of the wine, it can have chocolate and plum aromas."
"It makes firm red wines with real savour that is somehow more mineral than animal or vegetable yet they do not lack fruit, and have great structure that promises a long and generally rather glorious life. Aglianico's high tannins and acidity, and its evident ability to age, has inspired some to call it the 'Barolo of the south'. Praise indeed – although Aglianico is generally much deeper crimson than the Nebbiolo grape responsible for Barolo."
"The grape ripens late in the harvest, and if done right will produce wines that are inky black, with firm-to-huge tannins, and a powerful structure that benefits from 5-10 years or more of cellaring. Common characteristics of Aglianico wine include a smooth, rich, texture and aromas and flavors of black fruit, dark chocolate, coffee, leather, smoke, and mineral. In other words, pretty complex. While traditional / old-school Aglianico wines tend to be too harsh and bold when young, many wineries are employing modern techniques to produce examples that are ready to drink upon release."
"It is known to produce full-bodied red wines that show musky berry flavors with firm tannins and good aging potential. Even when grown in hot climates, Aglianico is capable of reaching high levels of acidity, which makes it a particularly useful vine in the Mediterranean. . . In their youth Aglianico wines tend to be very tannic and concentrated, especially if adverse weather conditions force producers to harvest their crop before it has achieved complete ripeness. A few years of ageing has a favorable impact on the wine and helps the tannins to soften and the fruit profile to emerge. Aglianico wines are typically garnet-red, fading to terracotta tones after sufficient time in bottle. Aglianico vines prefer warm, dry conditions, and therefore the grape has been trialed in California and Riverina, Australia. It ripens late even in these warm climates, with the best examples offering aromas of chocolate and plum."
Tar and Roses
"Wines produced from Aglianico tend to be full bodied with firm tannins and high acidity, making this a wine that has aging potential. The rich flavors of the wine make it appropriate for matching with rich meats such as lamb. In Campania, the grape has been blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the production of some Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) wines. In its youth the wine is very tannic and concentrated, with need of a few years of ageing before it can be approachable. As it ages the fruit becomes more pronounced and the tannins more balanced with the rest of the wine. The trademark colouring of the wine is a deep garnet. In well made examples of the wine, it can have chocolate and plum aromas."
"The combination of flavour, tannin and acid means that these wines are suitable for aging. In Italy this variety makes full bodied elegant wines with firm tannins and high acidity.
Berry Brothers & Rudd
"It is an early budding, late ripening variety and in the right hands can produce very long-lived wines of intensity and finesse. In the past young Aglianico wines were often fiercely tannic and harsh - fortunately improved techniques in both the vineyard and winery have led to fresher and riper wine being made that are eminently approachable in youth but also still improve with bottle age."
"A late ripening varietal, Aglianico boasts inky-black depths of color, fiery tannins and a firm structure. Aromas and flavors of black fruits, smoke, dark chocolate and even iron are common. Young Aglianicos have a tendency to be harsh and bold, but new world wine-making has made the better examples more approachable at an early age. Aglianico is a long lived varietal, with better examples improving in bottle for decades."
Eric Asimov, The New York Times
"[M]ost of the wines [in a major Aglianico tasting] were distinctively structured and earthy, with flavors of red fruit, licorice and menthol. . . [T]he aglianico producers in our tasting seemed to have backed way off their earlier use of small barrels of new French oak. The tannins in the wines seemed to have come naturally from the grapes. We detected little in the way of oak tannins or the vanilla and chocolate flavors imposed by the barrels."
"Aglianico is deep ruby in color with black fruit and earth aromas. Powerful and broadly structured with firm tannins and a long finish. Bouquet and mid-palate develop in three to five years, but continue to improve for ten. At maturity, Aglianico displays a deep garnet color and rich, satiny texture with aromas of coffee and leather."