The Aglianico vine buds early and grows best in dry climates with generous amounts of sunshine. It has good resistance to outbreaks of oidium, but can be very susceptible to Peronospera. It also has low resistance to botrytis, but since it is much too tannic to make a worthwhile dessert wine, the presence of this noble rot in the vineyard is more of a viticultural hazard than an advantage.
Wines produced from Aglianico tend to be full-bodied with firm tannins and high acidity, endowing them with good ageing potential. The rich flavours of the wine make it appropriate for pairing with rich meats such as lamb. In Campania, the grape has been blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the production of some Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) wines.
In its youth, Aglianico is very tannic and concentrated, requiring a few years of ageing before it can be approachable. As it ages, the fruit becomes more pronounced and the tannins more balanced with the rest of the wine. The trademark colouring of the wine is a deep garnet. In well-made examples of wine, it can have chocolate and plum aromas.
I followed the pruners for one whole day during Aglianico grape harvesting, sharing their meals and trying not to be too intrusive.
Below you can see the photos, as a micro-history of a beautiful day. But you can read them also as a resume of the work involved to create wine from grapes.
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