When talking about Italian grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, and Nebbiolo often take center stage. However, there is one grape variety that is steadily gaining recognition and appreciation for its unique character and exceptional quality – Aglianico. This red grape variety is renowned for producing remarkable wines that embody the soul of Southern Italy.
Aglianico is believed to have ancient origins, with some experts tracing its roots all the way back to the Greek colonization of Southern Italy over two thousand years ago. The name "Aglianico" is thought to derive from the Greek term "Vitis Hellanica," meaning "Greek grapevine." This grape variety found its natural home in the regions of Campania and Basilicata, where it thrives in the volcanic soils and the warm Mediterranean climate.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of Aglianico wines is their remarkable ability to age and improve over time. These wines are intense, full-bodied, and boast a complex array of flavors and aromas. Aglianico wines are often described as having dark fruit notes of blackberry and black cherry, alongside savory elements such as leather, smoke, and tobacco. They also display a firm structure with well-integrated tannins, offering an excellent potential for ageing.
The Aglianico grape variety is also known for its acidity, which helps to balance the wine and provide a refreshing acidity that makes it a perfect accompaniment to rich and hearty dishes. Aglianico wines are often compared to the great wines of Northern Italy, such as Barolo and Barbaresco, due to their similar aging potential and impressive quality.
One of the most iconic wines made from Aglianico is Taurasi, produced in the Campania region. Taurasi is often referred to as the "Barolo of the South" because of its complexity, structure, and aging potential. These wines are required to be aged for a minimum of three years, including at least one year in oak barrels, resulting in wines of outstanding depth and character.
Apart from Taurasi, Aglianico also shines in other regions, such as Aglianico del Vulture in Basilicata and the Aglianico wines coming from the province of Avellino in Campania. Each region adds its own unique touch to the Aglianico wines, resulting in a diverse range of expressions that all share the grape variety's undeniable quality and character.
In recent years, Aglianico wines have been garnering increasing attention and accolades from wine enthusiasts and experts worldwide. Its distinctive flavors and powerful structure have captivated wine lovers who are seeking wines with character, depth, and a sense of place.
So, next time you are in search of an exceptional wine from Italy, do not overlook the wonders of Aglianico. Whether you choose a Taurasi or another expression of this remarkable grape variety, you will be treated to a wine that exudes the passion, history, and magnificence of Southern Italy..