Aglianico You Should Seek (Go!) 07/11/11
I think it’s time for me to make a confession, one that might be long overdue. I’ve got a problem. That’s right: an Aglianico problem. And even though I live in Pennsylvania – otherwise known as Wine Purgatory, a handle bestowed upon my state due to the general suckiness of the PLCB monopoly – this problem isn’t a lack of access to the grape, as has been the case so very, very often in my brief but blissful wine-swilling career. No, my friends, I’m afraid it’s quite the opposite. I’ve come down with a classic case of Aglianico addiction.
As trite as this may sound, though, I’ve found the old adage to be absolutely true: the first step toward beating addiction is admitting that you don’t actually know how to pronounce the name of what it is you’re addicted to. So let’s see what Google has to say about the matter, shall we? Evidently (this reputable-looking site here being the evidence), the g in Aglianico is silent, meaning I’ve been… “wrong,” so to speak, for a few months now.
But hey, do you know what isn’t silent? Aglianico. In fact, I would say Aglianico is probably Italy’s loudest varietal. If you need more proof, I would advise you simply to watch this sexy video, the best and first ever Convicted for Grape Productions production, courtesy of Jeff Hertzberg and his many computers:
Anyway, down to business: today’s wine is the Fattoria Selvanova 2004 Aglianico Silicata, a $20 offering from the Terre del Volturno region in Campania, Italy. You may remember Campania as the place whence hailed the loser of the Aglianocalypse, defeated by an older, wiser Basilicata bottle; but I’m a reasonable guy, and in the spirit of open-mindedness, I feel it’s only fair to keep buying and drinking wines from the region. For fairness.
This wine, technically a blend of 85% Aglianico and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, poured a dark, murky garnet (even murkier than the Penfolds Shiraz-Cabernet I reviewed), with more of an orange/brick tinge around the rim. It gave off aromas of boysenberry and a hint of graphite, alongside that wonderful, animal pungence I’ve come to associate with the varietal.
The palate presented more boysenberry notes, along with blueberry, smokey wood, and a surprisingly salient finish of clove (would “cloven” be an appropriate descriptor?) It was full-bodied, as a good Aglianico should be, with powerful tannins, powerful acidity and a hefty helping of alcohol. Still, by way of this combo, the wine managed to pull off a pretty extreme balancing act, and should be commended. And will be commended. By me.
I’d also like to note that there was a bit of sediment at the bottom of the bottle, a trait you’ll find in some wines (real wines) as their tannins gain experience points and level up.
With that in mind, I award the Fattoria Selvanova Aglianico Silicata thumbs up. See you next time, folks!