2017 Aglianico by Feudi di San Gregorio, Italy.

Tonight’s Occasion: 2017 Aglianico by Feudi di San Gregorio, Italy.

Dark intense color. Warm thick nose out of the bottle with dry, tart plum, blackberry, subtle secondary leather and tertiary hints of caramel. These conspire to create a sweet honey tobacco essence. Brooding. Swirl vigorously to add a touch anise to the drama.

Body is firm from the beginning. Bold crisp tannins are balanced with measured acid. Dark plum and cherry skins provide firm but restrained structure. Minerality adds a crisp firmness to the mouth feel while a firm spice heat slowly commands the stage. This drama quickly vanishes, leaving a dry grippy stage with wisps of mineral leather and refined caramel (reminiscent of neutral oak). This transition to finish ends in an endless duel between firm tannic grip and spice heat.

I keep verticals of this Aglianico in my cellar as a definitive reference for this varietal. It is impeccably executed, clean, crisp, balanced and representative of the varietal and this region. Currently on sale for $19/bottle on wine.com, this wine a bargain and a must. Pick up a few and study them. Good wine doesn’t always have to break the bank.

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2013 Aglianico del Vulture by Tenuta Del Portale, Italy

Tonight’s Occasion: 2013 Aglianico del Vulture by Tenuta Del Portale, Italy.

A little over two years ago I looked at the 2012 Vintage – one of my first forays into the world of Aglianico. This vintage comes with equal intensity albeit just a touch restrained but still a big wine no less.

Joining us for this review is Laura, a globetrotting Sacramento Food Blogger and Charcuterie Artista Extraordinaire. Check out her work on Instagram at @oneluckycat_77

Rustic nose with mushroom, tobacco, wet forest floor and an intense sharp leather. A slightly sharp acidic attack takes the palate time to adapt. Dry tart dark tart cherries accompany a thick dusty mouth feel. As it opens up the mushrooms intensify. A little later a very subtle raw honeycomb lingers in the back. It is so faint you’d likely miss it. Cherries turn ripe and a buttery vanilla emerges. Finish slowly pulls back but remains dusty, gritty, earthy and still massive.

I love everything about this wine. It is unapologetic. Big, Bold, Beautiful.

Molto Bene! πŸ·πŸ˜πŸ‘ŒπŸ½

2018 Aglianico by Passaggio Wines

Tonight’s occasion: 2018 Aglianico (Heringer Estates, Clarksburg) by Passaggio Wines

The color is mesmerizing. Nose is a little shy out of the bottle with subtle hints of dried tart fruit. Swirl vigorously to unlock crisp plum, slightly ripe cherries and a wet loamy soil and driftwood underlayment typical of Clarksburg. Distant floral notes I can’t pinpoint, dance in the background. Gorgeous!

Body is crisp. Mildly acidic. That tart fruit carries forward, immediately accompanied by an unmistakable clean, crisp, refined caramel. Crisp, clean tannins provide a sparing framework without dominating. This is a massive beast of a varietal and I have never seen it tamed like this. Terroir is almost neutral. Transition to finish is seamless and ends in a subtle spice heat while those restrained tannins finally show themselves in the form of a long, dry enduring grip.

This winemaker took a chance with this beast of a varietal and I think it paid off. She also has another Aglianico made in the more typical/traditional style. I highly recommend getting them both together. They make a great study of this grape’s broad potential.

Cindy is a small artisan winemaker to follow closely. Her wines are all amazing if not head-scratching at at times.

Nicely done Cindy! πŸ·πŸ˜πŸ‘ŒπŸ½

Read more about Passagio Wines on WineSnob.

2016 Resolute by Iron Hub, Amador County, California

Tonight’s occasion: 2016 Resolute (Aglianico) by Iron Hub Wines, Amador County, California.

This region may be known for its Zinfandel, Barbera and others, but I must say, the way Aglianico expresses itself here is more than noteworthy. This Winemaker’s take on the varietal does not disappoint.

Dark rich color. Nose is slightly shy, with intense dark plums and dark cherries. The slightly mineral granite leather typical of this region is unmistakable. Distant notes of berries and a crisp herbal expression linger in the back, reminiscent of minty, eucalyptus freshness.

Body is nicely balanced and greets you with a thick, viscous, slightly weighted, spicy, mouth feel. Reastained acidity makes a delayed appearance while bold crisp tannins provide solid structure. Transition to finish is seamless and characterized by a slightly sweet berry expression, spice heat and enduring tannic grip.

The Resolute is a gorgeous wine. Just like the 2015, this vintage evokes the same sentiments. I love it! I added this wine to the cellar and very much look forward to following its progression.

Nicely done Tom and Beth!

Reserve: 2015 Resolute by Iron Hub

Tonight’s occasion: 2015 Resolute by Iron Hub, Amador County, California. This wine inched ever so slightly ahead of their Esola Zinfandel. Both capping a respectable lineup of well built wines. It has a restrained nose with a suggestion of oak. If you don’t like big earthy noses, but like a big wine, you will like this one. It is somewhat fruit forward but not as much as one might expect from the region.

The body has a really good balance of acid, spice and fruit, quite impressive when you consider it has a 14.7% ABV. A testament to the winemaker’s craft. The finish is smooth with a healthy amount of tannic grip. It’s a great sipper, a high quality conversation wine. Several days ago I explored the obscure Italian varietal Aglianico. Little did I know I would encounter it this weekend. This is a refreshing, surprisingly approachable take on that grape. Well done guys!

Reserve: 2012 Aglianico del Vulture by Tenuta Del Portale

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!