Australian Aglianico wine regional and flavour profile
Aglianico tastes and aromas
Flavours of prunes, blackberries, herbs, chocolate and coffee, with notes of tar, smoke and iron
High tannins, firm structure, full bodied and high acidity.
Aglianico cellaring potential
Young Aglianico wines have a tendency to be harsh and bold, but new world winemaking has made the better examples more approachable at an early age. The high acidity and tannins make Aglianico suitable for ageing, and after a 3-5 years the wines tannins soften and their fruit profile emerges, and the best wines can continue to improve after over 10 years of ageing.
Facts about Aglianico
- The name Aglianico is believed to be derived from “Ellenico”, the Italian word for Greek.
- Aglianico is made into varietal wines or is often the dominant variety in blends. It sometimes plays a minor role in blends with other varieties such as the ubiquitous Sangiovese.
- As more wineries and grape growers become more concerned about global warming they are looking for varieties like this one, which can grow in warm to hot regions and maintain their high acidity.
- Aglianico grapes’ thick skin contributes to the high tannin levels in the wine, which, combined with their high acidity, can make the structured wines very harsh in youth. The wine is made for ageing to soften the tannins and bring out the fruit profile of the wine
- Cultivated by the Phoenicians, exported by the Greeks, consumed by the Romans, protected by popes and coveted as a blending agent during the phylloxera plague, “Aglianico is probably the grape with the longest consumer history of all,” says Denis Dubourdieu, oenology professor at the University of Bordeaux.
Australian regions that produce Aglianico
In Australia the variety is currently being grown in the Murray Darling Region, Adelaide hills, Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and Riverina, with encouraging results. Aglianico’s ability to make deeply coloured and aromatic wines in warm to hot regions indicate that it is a variety with considerable future in Australia.
Internationally, Aglianico is grown in the Basilicata and Campania regions of Italy, however the vine originated in Greece and was brought to the south of Italy by Greek settlers. In Basilicata, Aglianico forms the basis for the region’s only DOCG wine, Aglianico del Vulture, and is concentrated around the areas of Matera and Potenza.
The grape has also recently been planted in Texas and California, as it thrives in predominantly sunny climates.
What food to pair with Aglianico
As Aglianico has characteristics of a old world traditional red (i.e., massive black fruits, form structure and powerful tannins and high acidity), it demands very flavourful, hearty and gamey dishes such as a very rich and thick stew, grilled or braised meats, sausages, or kangaroo. These dishes will work works to cut the tannins and acidity of the wine, without being overwhelmed by the wines firm, big body. On the other hand, a less ferocious Aglianico, such as an aged Aglianico or a softer, New-World wine can pair very well with tomato based pasta dishes, roasts, grilled and braised meats such as lamb, and stews of game and beef. Even veal and pork dishes, if accented with rustic spices, can pair perfectly.
Stay away from lighter or even more moderate weight dishes as the wine will overwhelm the dish, leaving you with no hint of the cuisine profile.