In the vast world of wine, there are countless grape varieties each offering unique characteristics that excite the senses. Among these is Aglianico, a red wine varietal that has been captivating wine enthusiasts for centuries. Known for its deep flavors, rich history, and exceptional aging potential, Aglianico continues to garner attention both in its homeland of Italy and as an emerging player in California's wine scene, which you can order online from the best wine store USA.
Aglianico's roots can be traced back to ancient Greece, where it was called "Hellenic." However, its name as we know it today is believed to have been derived from "Vitis hellenica," a term used to refer to Greek vines. The grape made its way to Southern Italy, particularly the regions of Campania and Basilicata, around 700 BCE. Here, it found an ideal terroir characterized by volcanic soils and a Mediterranean climate, allowing it to flourish and develop its unique characteristics.
Aglianico is often referred to as the "Barolo of the South" due to its powerful and tannic structure. Inside the red wine bottle you will find that this grape produces wines with deep, intense colors ranging from ruby to garnet, and its flavors are often described as black cherry, blackberry, plum, and even hints of licorice and spices. Aglianico is celebrated for its vibrant acidity, which balances the robust tannins, making it a wine that can age gracefully for many years. In its youth, the wine may come across as somewhat austere, but with age, it transforms into a complex and elegant masterpiece.
Aglianico in Italy
Southern Italy is the spiritual home of Aglianico, and the regions of Campania and Basilicata are its strongholds. Campania is home to two renowned Aglianico appellations: Taurasi and Aglianico del Taburno. Taurasi, located in the Avellino province, is considered the king of Aglianico wines and is often regarded as one of the greatest Italian red wines. The DOCG regulations for Taurasi require the wine to be made from a minimum of 85% Aglianico grapes and aged for at least three years before release. The resulting wine is complex, with firm tannins, and boasts impressive aging potential.
Similarly, Aglianico del Taburno, located in the province of Benevento, produces exceptional wines that showcase the grape's characteristics. These wines tend to be more approachable in their youth compared to Taurasi but still offer significant depth and complexity. It can produce some true beauties, like the 2004 Masseria Felicia Falerno del Massico Rosso, available when you buy wine online.
Aglianico's Rise in California
While Aglianico has a long and storied history in Italy, it has also found a new home across the Atlantic in California. The Golden State's diverse microclimates and growing conditions have provided an exciting opportunity for winemakers to experiment with various grape varieties, and Aglianico is no exception.
Regions like Paso Robles, Sierra Foothills, and Santa Barbara have shown substantial promise for growing Aglianico grapes. The warm climate and well-drained soils in these areas allow the grape to fully ripen, resulting in wines with intense fruit flavors and the characteristic tannic structure. California winemakers have embraced Aglianico's potential and have been crafting impressive wines that pay homage to its Italian heritage while embracing the unique expression of the terroir. Consider the 2019 Ryme Luna Matta Vineyard Aglianico from Paso Robles, for example.
In both Italy and California, winemakers utilize different production techniques to harness Aglianico's potential fully. Traditional methods involve extended maceration to extract color, tannins, and flavors from the grape skins. The wine is then aged in a combination of oak barrels and stainless steel tanks, allowing it to develop its complexities over time. Some winemakers opt for modern techniques, such as using controlled-temperature fermentation or new oak barrels to influence the wine's profile further.
Aglianico is a grape variety that showcases the best of both Old World charm and New World innovation. Its historical significance in Italy and the exciting growth it has experienced in California make it a captivating wine varietal for both enthusiasts and collectors alike. Whether enjoyed in its youth or cellared for several years, Aglianico's depth, intensity, and distinctive flavors promise an unforgettable journey through the world of red wines available at the best wine store California. So, next time you're in search of a thrilling and exceptional wine, consider indulging in the allure of Aglianico. Salute!