The Best, and Most Affordable, Wine You’ve Never Heard Of: Aglianico



I really thought hard about posting this one (for the fear that my dear old wine would become trendy) but here goes. 

One trick you should take to heart as a wine consumer is to NOT chase the hot wine of the day.  An example would be buying Pinot Noir after Sideways was released.  Wine prices spike according to popularity, so I like to buy lesser known wines for a better value and product.

One hugely underappreciated wine varietal is Aglianico from Southern Italy.  Aglianico is sometimes referred to as the poor man’s Barolo and is grown primary in Campania and Basilicata (Aglianico del Vulture). 

Aglianico has huge flavor and high acidity (making it popular for roast lamb and other meats, as well as the summer tomato salad, olives, cheese, and bread type meals).  The wine can also age, which is another plus.  A nice bottle can be purchased for $13-$20, $40-$70 will probably get you the best tasting wine you’ve consumed over the last 10 years (especialy if you’ve been drinking Pinot, Cabernet, Shiraz, etc. which carry huge premiums for better bottles).

Update: Eric Asimov of The NY Times recently covered Aglianico on Sept 17th 2008, so the secret is now really out!  He recommended the following bottles (I bought two cases of the Cantina di Venosa and it’s a great value!):


Cantina di Venosa Aglianico del Vulture Vignali 2003


Dense, intense and pure with aromas and flavors of sour cherry, earth, minerals and leather. (Winebow/Leonardo LoCascio Selections, New York)

Tormaresca Castel del Monte Bocca di Lupo 2003


Well-done modern take on aglianico with balanced flavors of cherry, earth and oak. (Rémy Cointreau USA, New York)

I Favati Aglianico d’Irpinia Cretarossa 2004


Earthy and tannic with good underlying flavors of fruit and minerals. (Vinity Wine/Dino Capriotti, Emeryville, Calif

Ocone Aglianico del Taburno 2003


Spicy and complex with tart cherry flavors. (Polaner Selections, Mount Kisco, N.Y.)

Casa Maschito Aglianico del Vulture La Bottaia 2003


Funky and lively, with smoky dark fruit and mineral flavors. (U.S.A. Wine Imports, New York)

Salvatore Molettieri Taurasi Cinque Querce 2003


Dense tar, earth and oak aromas; balanced with good underlying fruit. (Michael Skurnik Wines/Marc De Grazia Selections, Syosset, N.Y.)

D’Angelo Aglianico del Vulture Riserva Caselle 2003


Modern and oaky yet well balanced with spicy cherry and earth flavors. (Domenico Valentino Selections, New York)

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici 2003


Aromas of plush fruit, flowers, earth and oak. (Wilson Daniels, St. Helena, Calif.)

Vigne Irpine Aglianico d’Irpinia Giubilo 2005


Dense and modern, but balanced with tart cherry and earth flavors. (Monarchia Matt International, Armonk, N.Y.)

Tenuta del Portale Aglianico del Vulture Pian del Carro 2004


Read more about Aglianico at: Wine Weekly, About, Wine Review Online, Vaynerchuck at, From K&L, Classic Wines,


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