Bernard’s Pick of the Week: Aglianico from Italy

October 20, 2023

“A” for Aglianico. This varietal of red grape is native to southern Italy that produces full-bodied reds with musky berry, Chinese Hawthorn flavor, with firm tannins and wines made potentially for aging.

I am very glad that the owner Looi from Luigi’s Wine came up with this theme for our tasting last night over at Peach Blossom Restaurant located at Mandarin Marina. The group of 5 of us – comprising of 4 gentlemen and a lady did a tasting of the following wines : Terredora, Taurasi 2001, Mastroberardino Radici Riserva, Taurasi 1997, 1998, 2006 and a bottle of Mastroberardino Radici 2006.

We were just a group of vinos trying to discover this rare varietal and we started off getting musky berries, sous bois and a rustic hawthorn nose. You could see some age from the edges and the core was bright. Secondary aromas already developed mirroring from the nuances of what we discovered from the nose. The firm tannins were still holding well and jet rounded without any rough edges, in reference to the 1997.

Up next was a wine that was very shy and closed – the 1998. Perhaps due to the chill of the bottle however after a period, it was still hiding somewhere. The rest of the group did discover notes of dry roses and on the mouth it had a good grip, with generous tastes of berries. However, I beg to differ, as I find that this bottle is dumb.

Conversely, the Terredora is different in style – on the nose, the scent of red berries, tar and liquorice surface. The palette was somehow medium with very soft tannins. Paired perfectly well with our pork ribs and bean paste bittergourd.

Next was the bottle that I had sourced from Cru World Wines. Valued at around S$55 and only the last bottle available, it is worth every cent of pleasure. More fruit driven compared to the rest with floral notes integrating with the toasted hawthorn. Rustic and old world style with a slight spice finish on the palette. I enjoyed the 2006 tremendously.

Finally, we did the straight 2006 which was quite similar to the Riserva but somehow less complex.

The evening went well and the discovery of Aglianico is interesting and a valuable learning point, given that this varietal is not often seen in the market and yet affordable to provide much pleasure in enjoying with fellow vinophiles over a meaty meal.

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