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Aglianico

Aglianico is an ancient black grape variety originating in Greece, whose name is said to derive from a mispronunciation of the adjective 'Hellenic', with which it was originally identified. It was introduced into Italy as early as the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. and reached its best expression in the volcanic soils of Basilicata and Campania, linking it to local wine-making traditions. The grapes, characterised by their very thick skin, high sugar content and important tannic structure, give life to full-bodied, dense and structured reds with long ageing in wood that makes them velvety, soft and complex. Since ancient times, this grape has been the star of intense and precious nectars, and today it is the basis of important wines from the south of Italy. Due to their structure, body, vigour and elegance they are often defined as 'Barolo of the South', and go well with very tasty red meats and mature cheeses.

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Aglianico is an ancient black grape variety originating in Greece, whose name is said to derive from a mispronunciation of the adjective 'Hellenic', with which it was originally identified. It was introduced into Italy as early as the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. and reached its best expression in the volcanic soils of Basilicata and Campania, linking it to local wine-making traditions. The grapes, characterised by their very thick skin, high sugar content and important tannic structure, give life to full-bodied, dense and structured reds with long ageing in wood that makes them velvety, soft and complex. Since ancient times, this grape has been the star of intense and precious nectars, and today it is the basis of important wines from the south of Italy. Due to their structure, body, vigour and elegance they are often defined as 'Barolo of the South', and go well with very tasty red meats and mature cheeses.

The Great History of Aglianico up to the Present Day

Given the large number of varieties scattered throughout southern Italy, the history of Aglianico is very confusing and unclear. It is a red grape variety that was probably imported to Italy by Greek colonists from Thessaly in the 7th century BC and belonged to the famous "Aminee vines" praised by the great Pliny the Elder. The first historical evidence is the Roman wine press that was found near Vulture, which would confirm that it was already widespread in ancient Rome.

It seems that the etymology of the word derives from the ancient city of Elea, a polis of Ancient Greece on the Tyrrhenian coast of Campania, or more simply from the word 'Hellenic' or 'Ellenico' in Italian. In fact, the Latin poet Horace, one of its greatest admirers, described its qualities and characteristics by this name, praising its land of origin, Venosa. It seems that the change from Hellenic to the modern name occurred in the 16th century during Aragonese rule. In fact, this becomes more plausible if we consider that the double 'll' in Spanish is pronounced very similar to the Italian 'gli'. To date, this is certainly the most credible hypothesis, but if we consider the various synonyms and place names, the matter becomes even more complicated. Finally, one last study that deserves further investigation has tried to prove the derivation from the Latin julia tico, translated as 'July grape'.

With so many different nicknames attributed to it over time, there is evidence that it has spread throughout much of southern Italy, particularly in Basilicata, Campania, Apulia and Molise. Nowadays, in these latter two regions, its diffusion has been considerably reduced, being limited only to the border lands with Basilicata and Campania and in the province of Foggia.

Aglianico Basilicata is mainly grown in the area of Mount Vulture, an extinct volcano in the province of Potenza. From the lava lands flows a warm wine with a strong mineral imprint, Mediterranean and with a great structure that represents the flagship of the whole Lucanian oenological history. In 2011, the DOCG was created, while the remainder remains denominated Aglianico DOC del Vulture.

In the Campania region, it is mainly diffused in the province of Benevento, at the foot of Mount Taburno, where it represents one of the most famous DOCGs in the whole country. In addition to the various IGTs in Cilento and some lesser-known areas of Campania, Aglianico is the star of the Irpino area and is the raw material for one of the most prestigious and famous red wines in the world, Taurasi. A real jewel of Campania, which thanks to the hand of great producers and ancient local traditions has secured a place at the table of the world's greatest wine expressions, becoming a liquid legend!



The Identity of a Great Grape

Talking about Aglianico wine in general terms is difficult because each area has different characteristics and nuances. However, it is possible to draw a common picture that briefly summarises the characteristics that define this valuable expression of southern Italy.

The bunches are cylindrical or conical in shape, fairly compact and of medium size. The grape is medium-small, spherical and blue-black in colour, with a thick skin that allows it to withstand the cold fairly well.

Defined by critics as the "Barolo of the South" for its very high quality, it is a red wine of great body and structure, bold, robust and imposing. The colour is very dark, consistent and dense, due to a high presence of polyphenolic substances. It varies according to the period of ageing, from purplish tones for the younger, more immediate versions to colours tending towards orange and garnet for the more mature interpretations. As well as the type of grape, the concentration of colour depends to a great extent on the yield, which is very low for this type. Yield is therefore inversely proportional to colour, meaning that the lower the yield, the higher the polyphenol concentration. The aromas it releases certainly do not go unnoticed. It is composed mainly of fruity scents, found usually in jam or marmalade, such as cherry, black cherry, wild berry and plum. Alongside the fruit, the world of flowers also comes through, with clear hints of violets and lavender. The long refinement to which it is normally subjected can release more complex and extensive scents, such as vanilla, leather, chocolate, spices, liquorice and tobacco. Precious and refreshing balsamic touches can complete the olfactory profile.

The taste reveals all its essence. It carries a fairly high volume of alcohol, millimetrically balanced by a decisive intrinsic freshness, typical of this variety. The taste in the mouth is characterised by a pleasant tannic astringency, an imposing and powerful structure and an enveloping softness. The result is a harmonious and decisive red wine, one of the greatest heavyweights on the big stage.

If you are wondering where to find a full-bodied and structured red wine, Callmewine has the answer. Discover a wide selection of the best regional and international reds selected by our staff on our website. Discover the best prices, pairings and special features of Aglianico for sale online on the Callmewine wine shop.