Thursday, August 1, 2013

Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Irpinia Aglianico (2011)

There is a DOC -- a Denominazione di Origine Controllata -- in Campania.  It can be found in the province of Avellino known as Irpinia. A wide range of wines are produced by winemakers in this DOC, with names as unique and interesting as Irpinia Foxtail, Irpinia Piedirosso and Irpinia Sciascinoso.  Other wines have names that are more familiar to me, such as Iripinia Falaghina and Irpinia Aglianico.  I know these names because they are names of grape varietals.  Some lesser known varietals, which almost always piques my interest.  

The latter grape, Aglianico, is a particularly interesting one.  It is a black grape grown in Campania and Basilicata.  The varietal has a long history; Wine Enthusiast notes that the grape was originally cultivated by the Phoenicians, exported by Greeks and consumed by the Romans.  Aglianico outlasted the Roman Empire, continuing to be cultivated by vineyards and winemakers such as Feudi di San Gregorio, who produce the Rubrato Irpinia. 

According to the winemaker, Feudi di San Gregorio worked with the Universities of Napoli and Milan in a "a project of recognition of the merit and rediscovery of this grape." That work is embodied in the Rubrato, which is an example of a youthful wine made with 100% Aglianico grapes.  The youth of this wine comes from the fact that the wine is aged for a relatively short period of time ... and I mean relatively short in wine terms. The wine is matured for about eight to ten months in stainless steel vessels, and, it is then aged for six months in the bottle.

That youthfulness is present in all aspects of the wine.  The Aglianico pours a nice, brilliant ruby red.  The aromatic elements suggest, as the winemakers note, wild raspberries and dark cherries.  The winemakers also suggest elements of licorice and "underbrush."  I could not sense the licorice, but there was an earthiness to the wine.  As for the taste of this wine, it is full of those raspberries and cherries.  The youth of this wine means that those elements are rather full and perhaps a little undeveloped or nuanced.  This may turn off some people, but I think that it works well.  I also found a nice spice component, which definitely adds to the complexity of the wine. As the fruit and spice recede into the background, the dryness of the wine becomes a more noticeable. 

When it comes to pairing the Rubrato Aglianico, the winemakers suggested roasted red and white meats along with eggplant parmigiana and  a cake known as rice sartù. I think this wine will also pair well with other regional dishes, such as Bistecchine alla Napoletana and Costolette alla Pizzaiola, and even Pizza Margherita.

I found Feudi di San Gregorio's Rubrato Irpinia Aglianico (2011) at a local grocery store.  A bottle sells for about $16.99.


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