Monte Vulture (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Aglianico part two: the Vulture

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That’s “vooltooray," in Italian. It’s not a bird, it’s a very large mountain – an extinct volcano, in fact. As you may recall, volcanoes make for very good farming because of the fertile soils produced by past eruptions. Some of the best agricultural land is actually not adjacent to Monte Vulture, but 10-15 miles to the east, where there are excellent grape growing conditions. Along with Taurasi (which is about 40 miles west), the Vulture is considered the best terroir for Aglianico; by contrast, the Vulture wines are elegant and much less rustic than Taurasi. In recent decades a lot of modern, very polished, very oaky wines have been produced in the Vulture, and it’s been hard to find transparent and distinctive wine. But we lucked-out with Madonna delle Grazie; we’ve been working with their 4 bottlings of Aglianico del Vulture for 3 years, and we are still thrilled with the wines every time we taste them. And finally, we’re having a visit from Paolo Latorraca, who farms and makes wine with his father and brother. Paolo’s an energetic and entertaining guy, and he agreed that it would be very interesting to taste his wines along with some older Aglianico. So please join us for dinner at Franny’s, for great food, and Aglianico del Vulture from Madonna delle Grazie, and older wines from d’Angelo, and Paternoster, and older Taurasi from Feudi di San Gregorio, Terradora, and Mastroberardino. Jamie Wolff

Michele, Giuseppe, and Paolo Latorraca                                                                                                   

 

An old Aglianico vine at Madonna delle Grazie - the fruit is used for "Drogone".                                       

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Dinner - Aglianico with Madonna delle Grazie Thursday, March 2, 2017 Franny's, 7pm

Dinner at Franny's, including great food, 6 wines from Madonna della Grazie; Aglianico del Vulture 1995 and 1998 from d'Angelo, and 2 cuvees of 1998 from Paternoster. Plus Taurasi 1996 Feudi di San Gregorio, 1998 and 2000 Terradora, and  Mastroberardino 1973 ("one of 2 best vintages of the decade") and Mastroberardino 1990, and a surprise or two...

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  • $140.00

Madonna delle Grazie 2015 IGT Basilicata Rosato Sagaris - Aglianico

A deeply-colored, dry and aromatic winter rose from the Aglianico grape. Fuller in body than what we often drink during the high heat of summer, this has a plush, silky mouthfeel with plenty of generous cherry fruit, a hint of bitterness on the finish, and streaks of smoky Basilicata minerality throughout. I would love this as a bolder, fall aperitif rose while cooking or welcoming guests, and at the dinner table as a refreshing yet substantial companion to any vegetarian or poultry-based feast. Karina Mackow

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Madonna delle Grazie 2011 Aglianico del Vulture Messer Oto

Making Aglianico in a fresh, food-friendly style is not easy; in so many wines ripeness takes over, resulting in a charmless,“hot” wine that tastes of alcohol and roasted fruit. Messer Oto* avoids these pitfalls and showcases Aglianico's ability to carry lifted flavors of brambly fruit and smokey minerals. This is very dry but with some rich black fruit, ripe tannins, and plenty of peppery nuance and complexity; bright acid provides balance and makes this a very versatile food wine to accompany anything from grilled salmon or chicken to burgers or richer stews. John Rankin and Jamie Wolff *There is a fine public fountain in the Vulture town of Venosa which dates to the 1300s and which is named for a “Messer Oto”, who must have been a local boss of the day. 

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Madonna delle Grazie 2010 Aglianico del Vulture Liscone

Liscone is an old Contrada, or farm; Paulo says that the fruit for the Liscone bottling comes from younger vines — only 30 years old... After 15-20 days in open-top fermenters, the wine goes in old tonneau. It's intense — smokey, very mineral. Savory, with ripe tannin, this isn't a fruit-driven wine, but a really sophisticated expression of the Vulture. The wine is certainly drinkable now, but this is a fine candidate for mid-term aging. A bottle tried recently was open for three days and still quite delicious. Fine stuff! John Rankin and Jamie Wolff

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Madonna delle Grazie 2008 Aglianico del Vulture Drogone d'Altavilla

Drogone comes from a small parcel of vines planted in 1964. The wine is aged for two years in older, large tonneau of French oak, and then for years in bottle — the 2007 is the current release. A wine of great depth and considerable density, it shares the elegance and finesse of all Madonna delle Grazie wines. It's very cool to taste the highest quality Aglianico that has some age; we're happy that it's still available at such a fair price. John Rankin and Jamie Wolff 

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