We The Italians | Italian wine: Why Aren't You Drinking More Aglianico?

Italian wine: Why Aren't You Drinking More Aglianico?

Italian wine: Why Aren't You Drinking More Aglianico?

  • WTI Magazine #147 Jan 22, 2022
  • 166

Happy New Year Italian wine loving friends! I'm thrilled to start the New Year featuring one of my favorite Italian red native grapes, Aglianico. 

Aglianico, pronounced "ah-lee-ah-knee-co", is an Italian native grape found in southern Italy, mostly in the Campania and Basilicata wine regions. It's a dark, almost black colored, grape that buds early, but is harvested late. It is thick skinned resulting in wines that are darkly colored, high in acidity and tannins along with a full body. These wines also have great potential for aging. They are typically complex with great structure showing pure red fruits that are savory and earthy not heavily masked by oak.

The Wine Regions ~ Campania and Basilicata

Aglianico loves sunshine and dry climates and grows particularly well in the volcanic soils of both Campania and Basilicata. Volcanic wines are unique lending minerality to the wines.

Campania is home to a couple DOCG's that feature the Aglianico grape. One of the most known and respected DOCGs throughout Italy for Aglianico is the Taurasi DOCG. Located in the Irpinia appellation, the eastern part of Campania bordering the Puglia and Basilicata regions, this DOCG was the first in southern Italy established in 1993. The Taurasi vineyards are located outside of Avellino in the area of one of Europe's most active volcanoes, Mt. Vesuvius. These wines require a minimum of 85% Aglianico and must be aged at least 3 years with at least 1 year in wood. The Riserva wines require an additional year with 18 months spent in wood.

Also in Campania in the Sannio appellation is the Aglianico del Taburno DOCG established in 2011. Along with Taurasi and Aglianco del Vulture we'll be discussing, this is the 3rd biotype of Aglianico also known as Aglianoc Taburno hailing from the area of Taburno. These wines also require a minimum of 85% Agliancio with 2+ years aging and Riserva wines requiring 3+ years (6 months in bottle) and 13%+ alcohol.

The Basilicata wine region, just to the east of Campania, hosts both a DOC and DOCG with Aglianico via Aglianico del Vulture DOC and Aglianico del Vulture Superiore DOCG. These vineyard sites are located in the northern part of the Basilicata and are both made from 100% Aglianico.  The wines from the DOC cannot be released before September 1st a year after the harvest where the DOCG wines require 3+ years with 1 year spent in wood and 1 year in bottle. The Riserva DOCG wines require 2+ years in wood with 1 year in bottle and cannot be released before November 1st until 5 years after harvest.

I love Aglianico because of its quality price ratio. You can get many of these great wines from the high teens to $30-40 in comparison to some of the other noble wines of Italy that carry a much heftier price tag. So what are you waiting for? Don't just take my word for it. Get out there and experience Aglianico for yourself.