It didn’t take us very long to uncork that Aglianico I referred to in my last post — we shared it with one of J.’s classmates in a post-term informal celebratory pizza dinner on Friday evening. It’s the Bisceglia 2006 ‘Terra di Vulcano’ DOC Aglianico di Vulture, at $14.95 and 13.5%, in the Easter weekend Vintages release. Beppi Crosariol gave it high praise in a column that has now been “matured” from the Globe’s free current content section to its paid archives.
I first ran into Aglianico in the summer of 2005, somewhat by accident at the St. Clair Market mini-Vintages when I was looking for something to serve with (and in) a lamb braise. Our notes on that wine, a Cappellaccio Aglianico Reserva 2001 from the Castel del Monte DOC in Puglia ($17.95), are somewhat sketchy. But we remember finding its “organic” nose of olive, earth, and cherry unexpectedly fascinating. The grape is apparently an import into southern Italy from Greece (Aglianico being a corruption of “Ellinico”), with the potential — albeit infrequently realized — to make top quality wines.
Our more recent Aglianico doesn’t have the “organic” quality that caught our attention back when we first encountered the grape way back when. But nevertheless it is a very well made wine, with a nose of dark fresh cherries, light sandalwood, and an indefinable (to us) though not overwhelming spiciness. It’s an appealing wine with medium-plus-ish body, acid, and tannins nicely in balance. Crosariol made a point of warning his audience not to expect a New World fruit bombish kind of wine, but frankly the wine is more fruit-forward and less austere than that warning would have led us to expect. Probably not an ideal wine for our pizza though — I seem to recall that Crosariol mentioned something like an ideal accompaniment for smoked meat antipasti which does seem to be more its style.