Aglianico is said to be the “Nebbiolo of Southern Italy”. To fully understand this comparison you need to know a bit about Nebbiolo. The most famous grape variety of the northern Italian region of Piemonte it is used in the highly sought after wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. It is said to have an essence of “tar and roses”, rustic and earthy while being floral as well. Honestly though, I’ve never tasted Nebbiolo because it is quite expensive. So my comparison of Nebbiolo and Aglianico is based solely on research. I do however have a Langhe Nebbiolo sitting in my collection so hopefully someday soon I can do a proper comparison.
This Aglianico is from the southern region of Molise Terre Degli Osci, a less popular wine region close to the heel of the Italian boot shape on the east coast. It is a much later ripening grape than Nebbiolo so must be grown in more southern regions. Being high in tannin and acidity Aglianico is a wine capable of aging for many years and examples from more volcanic rock regions fetch a higher price because of this. While today’s wine comes from the opposite side of the heel, across from the better known regions, it is good valued while maintaining some of the true character possible from the grape.
Interestingly enough I started writing today’s review this morning and only a couple hours later my favourite blog Wine Folly released a guide to Aglianico. How serendipitous!
Look: In the glass this Aglianico is a bright ruby red showing some signs of it’s age with garnet orangish rim. As wines age they turn from their typical red colour to more of an orange hue because the pigments start to break down and disappear. This wine is almost 6 years old and is starting to show this break down a bit.
Smell: I figured this wine might show some rustic Italian character and it most certainly is when I smell it. Moderately aromatic it is very woodsy and slightly musky. The fruit is wild berries like strawberry, dried cranberry, and a tinge of blueberry. It is quite herbal with some cedar and licorice but there is this overarching earthy tar like aroma. This can be a bit much but it does lessen with time and mellows out into more dry earthy aromas.
Taste: This wine is full bodied with very fine aggressive tannins and surprisingly high acidity. The fruit on the palate is darker with plums, blackberry, and more blueberry. This fruitiness is rounded out with flavours of cocoa, dry leather, and cured or smoked meat. It is very rustic in the long finish with more earthy character but there are also some light cinnamon and allspice flavours.
Conclusion: I’ll admit that this wine is not easily approachable. It is more of a traditional style Italian table wine with rustic features that will soften with age. If you are up for the challenge and enjoy a truly Italian charactered wine then pick this one up and give it a go. While being a bit harder to just sip it has some interesting complexity and for this I give it an 8.0/10. With an earthy style and aggressive dry tannins this wine would go very nicely with roasted meats and rich pasta dishes. Just be sure to let it sit open for a couple hours first.
- Terre Degli Osci IGT, Molise
- 2010 – 13.5% ABV
- Borgo di Colloredo
- $16.75 at Chateau Wine & Spirits (Lacombe)
- Real cork