Posted by: tomciocco | September 2, 2011


It’s tough to argue that Aglianico isn’t southern Italy’s greatest and best known grape – it is the star as well as the supporting player in multiple appellations across several regions, and its nobility and ageworthiness are legendary. And then there is Lucania a.k.a. Basilicata…

Basilicata is the “old” name for the “arch” of the Italian boot (the region between Calabria and Puglia) that now often goes by the confusingly more ancient Latin name Lucania. This is a land of a stark, almost harsh, but profound beauty: dry, rocky, and much at fairly high elevation, sparsely populated, dotted with extinct volcanos, hammered by the deep Mediterranean sun in the day, but often downright chilly that same night. Sadly, few tourists come here…

But then again, maybe that’s a blessing. As of yet, I haven’t heard of any rush of Northern Europeans buying up villas in towns like Rionero like they’ve done in Tuscany or in Andalusia in Spain. Rionero (the souce of our wine) is a town situated in the northeastern-most nook of Lucania called Vulture  (Aglianico del Vulture is the region’s king appellation, and the only  one with a D.O.C.G. designation) which is indeed an ancient volcanic zone thick with ashy black, mineral-rich soils, but with a fair bit more rain, which makes the region a near paradise for the vine. And in this student’s opinion, this is area turns out examples of Aglianico at its most elegant and feminine…

Tonight’s dinner began with a Basilicata-feelin’ primo of orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe, olive oil, lots of garlic, red pepper flakes, anchovies, and raisins and then the great meatless heavy hitter of the early Autumn – whether it’s called melanzane alla parmigiana or just “eggplant parm” – as the secondo, no contorno need apply…









D’Angelo “Sacravite” Aglianico Basilicata IGT 2007

Deep, blackish garnet color. Elegant and complex nose of dried fruit, savory asian spices, roasted fennel and chestnuts, straw, and stable. The palate features supple and intense, but not heavy cherry and currant fruit shot through with a steely stucture that yields popping and well-defined flavors of  prune juice, dried hibiscus,  and grilled meat. The wine finishes with a surprisingly fine dryness.


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