Aglianico del Vulture
Aglianico del Vulture is an Italian red wine based on the Aglianico grape produced in the Vulture area of Basilicata. It was awarded Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) status in 1971 and the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) status in 2011. Located on volcanic soils derived from nearby Mount Vulture, Aglianico del Vulture is the only DOCG in Basilicata.
Although not as famous as other Italian wines, Aglianico del Vulture is considered by Gambero Rosso as one of the best red wines of Italy. The Globe and Mail has defined it as "the world’s greatest unknown grape".
Aglianico del Vulture DOCG can be produced only in the following communes: Rionero in Vulture, Barile, Rapolla, Ripacandida, Ginestra, Maschito, Forenza, Acerenza, Melfi, Atella, Venosa, Lavello, Palazzo San Gervasio, Banzi, Genzano di Lucania.
Like all the Aglianico grape varieties, Aglianico del Vulture has ancient origins and it is believed to have been introduced by the Greeks in southern Italy between the VII-VI century BC. Remains of a wine press of the Roman age have been found in the area of Rionero in Vulture and a bronze coin depicting the deity of Dionysus. One of the literary references about the history of Aglianico del Vulture have been left by Horace, the Roman poet born in Venosa who celebrated the beauty of his native land and the quality of the wine.
Subsequently there was a notable increase in viticulture, also linked to the new uses of wine in the celebration of the mass and the medicine. In the XV century the vineyards completely occupied the slopes of Mount Vulture between Melfi, Rapolla and Barile. The cellars were often carved into the caves and even today the cellars of many prominent wineries are located in the old caves.
Most of the vineyards are located on higher altitudes in the region, typically between 450 to 600 meters. The Aglianico grape ripens late and is often one of the last non-dessert wine grapes to be harvested in Italy being picked from late October to early November. When yields are kept low, the grape will produce intensely flavored wines.
In recent years there has been movement towards the use of new French oak barrels for aging the wine instead of large chestnut casks. If the wine is labeled vecchio (meaning "old") it will have been aged for least three years with wines labeled riserva being aged for at least five years, two of which must be in wood.
Aglianico del Vulture wines have the potential to be full bodied, richly textured with a firm tannic structure and chocolate-cherry notes. In their youth, the wines can be more rustic and harsh but they can develop soft tannins and more silky texture as they age, having the potential to improve in the bottle for 6 to 20 years.
- J. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition pg 7 Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN 0-19-860990-6
- Gambero Rosso, Il libro del vino. Manuale teorico & pratico, 2004, G.R.H. S.p.A., pag. 167 ISBN 88-87180-79-2
- "Aglianico: Meet the wine grape superstar 500 years in the making". theglobeandmail.com.
- Giuseppe Coria, Il libro d'oro dei vini d'Italia, 1981, Mursia, p. 102
- "Francobollo Aglianico del Vulture Superiore DOCG". aglianicodelvulture.net.
- T. Stevenson "The Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia" pg 295 Dorling Kindersley 2005 ISBN 0-7566-1324-8
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