Aglianico (Ah-yah'-nee-co) is an Italian grape grown primarily in Campania (especially in Taurasi DOCG) and Basilicata (especially in Aglianico del Vulture DOCG). The grape has extremely high levels of tannin and acidity giving it tremendous structure and long life. Though a challenging grape to grow and process, it is very well suited for the Sierra Foothills with excellent versions being produced in both Amador and El Dorado counties. Like other Italian varieties that thrive so well here, we believe Aglianico is perfect for the region and could easily find its second home here.
FOOTHILLS WINO PANEL SELECTION
Amador Cellars, with phenomenal foresight, planted Aglianico vines in 2008 before most people west of Positano, Italy had heard of the grape. After some early growing pains with young-vine grapes and winemaker Michael Long learning how to handle these ornery beasts, this wine is now, year after year, some of the absolute best wine coming out of the Foothills. Each vintage is unique, so try them all, but definitely do not miss the 2015.
OTHER FAVORITE FOOTHILLS AGLIANICOS
At about 70% Aglianico, Iron Hub's Resolute falls just short of the 75% requirement to allow it to technically be called an Aglianico, but it is close enough for us. These 20+ year old vines are just starting to come into their own, and this wine gets better every year. Taming varieties like Zinfandel and Grenache are blended in to help make Resolute a more approachable early on, but it is still a very big wine.
Tom Sinton studied hundreds of varieties and carefully planned every inch of his immaculate vineyard before planting. He dedicated a prime spot to Aglianico because he had a strong feeling it would work well. He was right! He vinifies his Aglianico to be a bit more approachable early on than most, but it is still a huge and powerful wine. Tom also selected the Vulture clone for his plantings, giving this Aglianico a slightly different feel and grip than the others in the region.
It is of course no surprise that Vino Noceto so deftly handles another Italian variety. That's what they do. It is not easy to incorporate subtlety into a powerhouse wine like this, but they have. This beast is big and bold, but it also is, dare we say, dainty. We've got a case of this hidden away in cellar for 20 to 30 years. You should, too.