Aglianico was brought, by the Greeks, to Basilicata in the 6th or 7th century B.C. It is utilized for DOCG wines, DOC wines and vino da tavola.
Aglianico is a powerful grape. Taurasi Riserva DOCG in Campania best exemplifies Aglianico’s intense character. Taurasi is known as the “Barolo of the South” because of this intensity and its ability to age. In its youth, Taurasi is harsh due to high amounts of tannin, noticeable acidity and fully-concentrated flavors. Mastroberardino is the foremost producer of Taurasi. They use Aglianico exclusively and many argue that this is how to create the finest Taurasi. By law, Taurasi is permitted to contain up to 30 percent Barbera, Piedirosso and Sangiovese.
Taurasi DOCG must be aged 3 years, 4 years for riserva. One of the aging years must occur in oak or chestnut botti. This extensive aging period allows the wine to release its youthful, tough characteristics.
Aglianico is a late-ripening grape that thrives on the cool hillside, volcanic soil of Monte Vulture, an extinct volcano in Basilicata. It was here that the Greeks first established their colonies. Aglianico del Vulture DOC, established in 1971, is the only DOC zone in Basilicata. It lies to the north.
These wines are notorious for their roughness, caused by high levels of tannin and acidity. They are also revered for an excellent aging potential, up to 10 years. Falerno del Massico DOC in Campania also produces wines with a high proportion of Aglianico. Falernum, the most acclaimed wine of ancient Rome, is one of these wines from Falerno del Masscio DOC.
In Basilicata, both slopes and planes are present where Aglianico is grown. The sloped region has a cooler climate, not unlike northern Italy. This coolness induces a longer growing that ends late October. At harvest time, the grapes are fully ripe and the resulting wines are well-balanced. The plains are warmer and have a higher yield. These wines are flat and baked because of the higher temperature.