Where Vultures Dare (La Dolce Vita)

Aglianico del Vulture Armand, Alovini 2012- 14% Vol – The Wine Society £12.95

First of all an apology, over the next couple of months reviews will be on a 3-4 weekly schedule, I hope this won’t deter any of my followers from following this blog ? I am also hopeful that the reasons for this will soon be revealed, rest assured I hope to bring you more interesting wines and opinion on the usual more regular basis in the New Year… Now that’s has been addressed – it’s time to limber up those taste buds with a tidy tipple and the latest installment of just a quick slurp !

Italians have always been rumoured to do it better, and in the case of food and wine that just maybe the case. Italy produces more wine than than it’s neighbour France, and although French wine excels at delivering eyewatering complexitiy and price, Italian wines offer much more of a relaxed approach to things.

In general terms most Italian wines are lonely and underexposed without the pairing of Italian food, and no – although you can pair with other foods, it’s unlikely to produce the sheer harmony and joy offered when you match with Italian cuisine.

Italy has a very large number of grapes indemic to the country, from north to south and including the islands of Sardinia and Sicilly, there are around 350, although many are unlikely to feature in exported wines. The most common red varieties include Sangiovese, Montepulciano, Corvina, Barbera and legendary Aglianico, all tend to share high levels of acid and tannin.

Aglianico comes from the southern part of Italy, usually from the region of Campania or Basilicata. Arguably Italy’s greatest dark skinned grape, producing wines with nobility and brooding character, the most famous wines come from Taurasi, and command a hefty price tag, an alternative is Aglianico del Vulture, grown on the slopes of Mount Vulture, a dormant Volcano, which provides perfectly fertile soils in which to produce this wonderful variety.

Based in the region of Basilicata – often described as the arch in Italy’s foot – Alovini is owned and run by the accomplished winemaker Oronzo Alò.

To the eye this wine is deep ruby, displaying thick tears indicating a high level of tannin and alcohol. On the nose, it’s pronounced, offering raisin, liquorice, ginger, vanilla, and black cherry, with hints of smokey leather.

Just a quick slurp produces a wonderful mix of intensity, dry but with high levels of acid and tannin, these are integrated wonderfully, as is the alcohol which although high, never dominates. There is black fruit like the nose, although this time there are prunes and plum, with black cherries giving a wonderful freshness. Hints of chocolate and coffee and a gentle spice linger on the tongue, the finish as you would expect is both rich and long.

This wine is outstanding, although not at it’s full potential just yet – despite this it’s a treat to be had if you can find a bottle of this, better still a case, a perfect wine for the festive season and is a gift that if you are lucky enough to receive then it simply keeps on giving.



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