Aglianico taste and character
The taste of Aglianico red wine is characterized by strong tannins and a pronounced acidity, which develop into a rounded pleasure when matured for a long time. The velvety tannins give the wine from the south of Italy a full-bodied structure with concentrated spice. On the palate, strong aromas of volcanic origin or plum, chocolate and dark forest berries are to be found. Thanks to the late ripening of the Aglianico grape variety, strong aromas build up, but are also pampered with freshness due to the cold nights. The colour is characterised by the thick skinned and tannin-rich grapes and fill the glass in ruby red splendour.
The best Aglianico - DOCG Taurasi and DOC Aglianico del Vulture
Campania and Basilicata are predestined for the Aglianico grape variety thanks to the soil, climate and location. The grapes sprout early and ripen late - the harvest sometimes begins in November. Cultivation in the north of the country is therefore not possible, as the grapes would not reach their full ripeness. Thus Aglianico is almost exclusively cultivated in the south of Italy. Other growing areas are in California and Australia.
However, the best Aglianico wines come from the regions of Campania and Basilicata. Here the wines make it to DOCG status at up to 600 metres above sea level, for example in Taurasi or as DOC Aglianico del Vulture. Along the extinct volcano Monte Vulture, the DOC Aglianico del Vulture is vinified as a single variety and produces dark, concentrated and tannin-rich wines that only get better with age.
Storage life of Aglianico red wine
With its strongly pronounced tannins, Aglianico red wine is not only perfectly suited for long storage, it is also highly recommended. Aglianico should not be drunk young. During storage the prominent tannins and acidity fade away and make the wine round and velvety. As with any red wine, Aglianico wine should be stored in a cool, dark and temperature-resistant place until the optimal time, in about 5 years after vinification, has come to serve this noble wine.
Aglianico grapes in the wine cellar - acid reduction and wood
In the wine cellar the grapes undergo an extremely gentle vinification. Due to the strong acidity a biological acid reduction is necessary, which usually takes place in wooden barrels. This gives the wine a creamy structure and a noble wood note. From the cultivation to the grape harvest to the wine production, the Aglianico red wine goes through a vinification process that meets the highest standards. One can taste this, one appreciates it - Aglianico is special.
Malolactic fermentation - from the winemaker's box of tricks
Malolactic fermentation (Malo) is the reduction of malic acid in wine by a bacterium called Oenococcus oeni. The bacterium converts malic acid into lactic acid and CO2. This makes the wine softer and creamier and from now on it contains less acid. This process is an important means of making the wine smoother in a biologically sound way, especially with highly acidic wine.
The name Aglianico - origin and etymology
The Aglianico grape variety is old, very old, it is said to be more than 2,500 years old. According to the general opinion, it was the Phoenicians who shipped the grape variety from Greece to the south of Italy via their trade routes and colonization. The name Vitis Helenica - Greek wine - is always present in this origin story as a synonym for Aglianico. However, the evidence for this theory is relatively thin. DNA analyses did not find any connection between the grape variety Aglianico and grape varieties from Greece. Rather, the analysis indicated close relationships with grape varieties from Campania and Basilicata, especially Aglianicone, a descendant of Aglianico.
The assumption that Aglianico was of Greek origin dates back to 1581, by a scholar called Giambattista della Porta. He equated the old Helvola grape variety described by Pliny the Elder with hellanico - a Hellenic grape. From then on, wine writers held that Aglianico equals hellanico, a Greek grape variety.
However, this thesis is contradicted by many facts, including primarily the colour of the two wines. While Helvola was a yellowish wine, Aglianico grapes are very dark. Furthermore, the adjective hellenicus, which described objects of Greek origin, did not exist in the times of Pliny the Elder. Roman sources always spoke of graecus; Greek grapes and never Hellenic grapes.
The first written mention of Aglianico comes from a document of Count Giulio Antonio Acquaviva d'Aragona in 1520, who cultivated Aglianiche among his vines - plural for Aglianico. The etymological origin is probably Spanish, since the first mention of Aglianico falls in the period of Spanish occupation of Italy. The Spanish word for plain llano provides a hot trace of the origin of the name Aglianico, since the syllable lla is pronounced glia in Italian. If we take older dialects that refer to the grape variety as la Glianica, the meaning of the name Aglianico is obvious: the grape of the plain.
Interesting facts about Aglianico red wine
What is Aglianico wine
Aglianico is a red grape variety from which a tannin-rich and full-bodied red wine is produced. Due to its late ripening, the grape variety is only cultivated in southern Italy and warm areas, for example in Australia and California. Aglianico red wine is often produced on volcanic rock and extinct volcanoes. Aglianico is also known as the Barolo of the South, which indicates the high quality from cultivation to vinification as well as the well-structured and aromatic body.
The ideal drinking temperature for Aglianico
The optimal drinking temperature for Aglianico wine lies between 15 and 18°C.
Food recommendation for Aglianico
Aglianico red wine harmonizes with red meat and game. Also mature cheese is complemented by Aglianico wine. As an Italian speciality, Aglianico is of course also very much at home in Italian cuisine.
Must Aglianico wine breathe?
To fully develop its potential, Aglianico red wine should be poured into a carafe 3 hours before drinking. However, if stored for 5 years, the wine can also be drunk immediately after opening.
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