There are probably only a handful of producers growing and bottling this ancient grape in the United States. Seghesio is obviously one. Caparone Winery and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards are two other players that come to mind.
Aglianico is bold and tannic, late ripening and incredibly age worthy. Most importantly, it gloriously resides under the warm sun of southern Italy—Campania and Basilicata to be exact. I must go visit and report back. Its history is lengthy and tangled, and had something to do with ancient Greece, volcanos, and a wooden boat. But I’ll spare you all that—I took a cue from the sleepiness that overcame me during my Google search.
Aglianico boasts great structure and heft though it’s also elegant and restrained, with rich black fruit flavors like the last of the summer’s cherries, prune plums and blackberries along with hints of black pepper and roasted coffee that contribute lively undercurrents.
[An excerpt from Vivienne Sosnowki’s article, ‘Seghesio Aglianico’ featured in the November 2010 newsletter.]
I appreciate this wine for its hubris. A sun-soaked vineyard, a harvest date that bled into late October, 18 months in oak and this wine is still not stewy or broken. What admirable strength. I have a feeling it would be easier to not take on this beast, especially when there is virtually no name recognition to compensate for the effort.
From my notebook:
Plums, blackberries and granite. A hint of almond soap, rose water, and boot leather on the nose. Less stone-ground pepper and spice that embody the Seghesio Zins. Brassy tannins, mouthwateringly savory with glimpses of hard, aged cheeses, nuts, cured meats and olives.
Still heavy and dry in the cheeks, but outrageous layers of fruit and savories offer great drinking now—but my second bottle is hitting the racks for at least 4 years.