MARCH THIRST CLUB–BISCEGLIA AGLIANICO DEL VULTURE 2016

STORY

In the red-wine world, some of the most riveting undiscovered gems come from southern Italy. The ‘heel of the boot’ has historically played second fiddle to Piedmont and Tuscany to the north when it comes to producing chewy and complex reds. To this day, with all eyes on Italy, the best wines from Campania, Puglia, and Basilicata remain accessible. One of the most interesting appellations in this part of Italy is Aglianico del Vulture. Wines from this DOC must be Aglianico grown on or near the slopes of Monte Vulture, an ancient volcano. One of the most expressive examples of this charming wine region comes from our friends at Bisceglia.

TASTING

Aglianico is known to produce dark, inky wines with considerable grip, tannin, and alcohol levels. Aglianico del Vulture has long been recognized for its ability to showcase both concentration and elegance, due to its higher altitude and consequential longer ripening. Bisceglia’s 2016 iteration gives up notes of blackberry and smoke on the nose, moving to notes of fresh herbs, tobacco, and black currants on the palate. It is no wimpy red, yet maintains a degree of drinkability rarely found in Aglianicos. Best with intensely flavored cuisine, try this bottle with our recipe for Slow Cooked Chicken with Crispy Corn Crust.

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Despite its deserved reputation for a warm, Mediterranean climate, the Vulture zone benefits from higher elevation vineyard sites than are commonly found in the rest of Basilicata. As such, the best sites are allowed to ripen more slowly, preserving all-important acidity and even elegance, sometimes harvesting a full month later than neighboring regions. Bisceglia’s own vines are at 1,250 feet in elevation. Some have called these wines the ‘Barolo of the South’ for their ability to showcase the interplay between concentration and elegance, intensity and drinkability. And, if you’ve purchased a bottle of Barolo recently, you’ll be glad to know that you can get four or five bottles of this beauty for the price of your average Barolo.