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Tasting Aglianico
Terredora 1999 Aglianico d'Irpinia

Tasting Aglianico

Around this time last month, you may recall, we spent a couple of days tasting and talking about the white wines of Campania, the "instep" of the Italian "boot" around Mount Vesuvius and Naples.

Today we return to Campania for a quick look at Aglianico ("Ahl-YAN-ee-co"), the region's primary red variety.

In contrast with many wine regions that seek a modern style for their wines, Campania proudly sticks with the old native grapes - and the grapes of this region are ancient indeed, tracing their roots back to Greek settlement in the days before the Roman Empire. That's why one of the region's white grapes is called "Greco" ("Greek"). In fact, Aglianico is a synonym. The word is thought to derive from "ellenico," meaning "hellenic" or, well, "Greek."

Aglianico makes an unusual, aromatic wine that will come as a real change of pace for those accustomed to Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. It's fruity and ripe, an excellent companion with food, offering appetizing aromas that mingle juicy berrylike fruit with exotic spices. And because it's not well-known (and because, to be blunt, Southern Italy isn't a field routinely plowed by seekers of "cult" and investment wines), the wines of the region usually offer good value.

Aglianico Terredora 1999 Aglianico d'Irpinia ($12.99)

Very dark ruby with an orange glint. Ripe fruit and exotic aromatics, incense and cinnamon, cedar and sandalwood. Juicy and bright, flavors follow the nose; so fruity it almost seems sweet, with crisp fresh-fruit acidity for balance. U.S. importer: VIAS Imports Ltd., NYC (May 20, 2002)

FOOD MATCH: Turkish eggplant pilaf makes an exceptional match, with its hints of cinnamon, allspice and mint playing off the wine's exotic spice.

VALUE: Exceptional quality and flavor interest for a $12 wine. Excellent value.

WEB LINK: The importer has information about the Terradora winery at
and a fact sheet on this wine at: http://www.viaswine.com/prodotti/prod_vini.asp?vino=158.


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Tuesday, May 21, 2002
Copyright 2002 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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