Tonight’s occasion: 2012 Aglianico del Vulture by Tenuta Del Portale. Prior to just a few days ago I had no idea this varietal existed. This came as a suggestion from my newest winesnob som friend Nikki. According to Wikipedia, Aglianico is a black grape grown in the southern regions of Italy, mostly Basilicata and Campania. The vine originated in Greece and was brought to the south of Italy by Greek settlers. The name may be a corruption of vitis hellenica, Latin for “Greek vine”.
This one comes with a rich nose full of terrior minerality, leather, dirt and tobacco. It may be a bit much for some but once it opens up (for about an hour) it becomes a good conversation piece with a hint of fruit, balanced body and long lasting finish. I like wines that draw my palate off the beaten
path and prompt me to rethink my perception of what an honest wine truly is. This experience comes as no surprise from an Italian wine. Salute!
Tonight’s occasion is a 2012 Touriga – Nacional by Quinta Dos Carvalhais. Touriga has been a mystery varietal for me for a while now. It is an obscure grape from Portugal. The closest varietal out here (common in California) I can think of is Cabernet Franc. Most Touriga read very similar. Like Cab Franc, they aren’t overly complex but what they do, the do exceedingly well. This one came out swinging and needed to open up. The nose is surprisingly subtle with 2 or 3 hidden floral notes I cannot pinpoint. Licorice, vanilla, and jasmine come to mind. Once opened up, the body becomes elusive and finish completely dominates. My kind of wine. This wine is still young with a hint of green. Get this and forget about it for another 5-10 years.
We did a side-by-side with a Touriga based Red blend by the same winemaker. It’s a bit more of a bargain, definitely more of a pleaser too. A fantastic second bottle with lots of fruity oak/vanilla, jasmine, fuller body and much more subdued tannins. Makes perfect sense for this 57% Touriga Nacional. The only way you’d be able to stomach a 2017 Touriga Nacional is if you blend it down. Nonetheless both fantastic wines in their own right. However my heart is with the 2012 Touriga. It is so much more mature and an hour after opening, it really dominated our tasting.
Tonight’s occasion we’re going back to Italy with this 2012 Barbaresco, Produttori del Barbaresco. I have a bit of a bittersweet relationship with Barbaresco. I’m obsessed with Nebbiolo but I find that the way it’s made in this region typically leaves me wanting more. Unlike a Barolo or a Langhe Rosso which pack a big heavy mouthfeel and long finish, the Barbaresco tends to be more delicate. I think it’s fascinating nonetheless. I feel fortunate to be able to contemplate such nuances from around the world. Have you tried any of the Italian wines? What’s your favorite?
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