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Basilisco, Aglianico del Vulture, 2002

February 8, 2009

~$30US, 100% Aglianico del Vulture, Basilacata, Italy

This wine was a revelation in 2 ways – 1. There is no substitute for age, and 2. “Bad” vintages are actually awesome sometimes.

Aglianico is probably Southern Italy’s most serious varietal, often referred to (with Gaglioppo) as the “Barolo of the South”. It has a reputation for being tannic, rustic, and inaccessible in it’s youth – and while modern techniques have helped smooth some of its edges, it can still be a little gnarly.

This 2002 is not crazy old, but it was born in a  pretty poor year – so the net effect is a wine that is drinking just right, now.  The nose gave layers of roses, cocoa, and blackberries.  The palate was where the maturity really shined –  seamless and nicely integrated – It just flowed across the palate adding liquorice, leather and a mouthwatering meatiness. Acidic lift and a long, spiced finish close the deal. This is outstanding wine – probably the most enjoyable red yet this year. No doubt, I will continue to track down and lay down Aglianico – from “good” and “bad” vintages.

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