Two Aglianico’s & Lamb Chops
Do you have any experience with Aglianico? Neither do I. I purchased one from Giornata this spring because it sounded interesting. In the interim, I also picked up an Italian one from Surdyk’s, one of our local wine shops. It’s been a hot summer, so my interest in really big, brawny wines has been limited.
When trying something new, I like to open an old world example with the new world, just to see how they compare. The first thing you notice here is the color. I didn’t notice the difference until I actually had the two wine glasses right next to each other. They were both very dark when you look through the glass, but the Giornata was just a bit lighter in color than the Italian wine.
I thought Aglianico might go well with a really rich meat on the grill. Dinner tonight was to be an easy grill dinner featuring one of my favorites: lamb chops! I have been getting my lamb chops this year from Braucher’s Sunshine Harvest Farm. They come to both my local farmer’s markets, so I can pick them up at Fulton Farmer’s Market on Saturday or over at Kingfield on Sunday. All their meats are responsibly raised on their farm.
No recipes for the meal, I just relied on the basics. The lamb chops were marinaded in a combination of red wine, lemon juice, olive oil, and fresh rosemary from the garden. Salad was Romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, dried cherries, chopped almonds, and a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar. Vegetables were brussels sprouts and cauliflower with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh herbs from the garden. Finally, bread browned on the grill. Easy!
Aglianico is really tannic, so it benefits by having a really rich meat as a foil. It was just right with the lamb. A sip of either of the two wines totally cleared the palate after a bite of the lamb. With the food, the tannins didn’t seem obvious at all. However, a sip of wine after the meal showed that the tannins had not disappeared!
In addition, one of the aroma’s I noticed from the Giornata was a distinct note of rosemary. This wasn’t intentional, but I sure felt lucky to have used fresh rosemary with the lamb.
Aglianico was a fun new wine to try. I was pleased that the Giornata was very true to the Italian approach to the grape. It was big in aroma and flavor, but not super ripe or bathed in oaky flavors, as is often the case with wines of the new world. Here were my tasting notes:
- Dark purple red in color, translucent only at the edges.
- Nose: After a short decant, herbs (rosemary), dark fruit, and a bit of smoke.
- Mouth: Lean, dark cherries, and tannic. Quite tannic. Opened this with the Feudi di San Gregorio Aglianico. You could clearly tell these two wines were made from the same grape. They were clearly different, but shared many characteristics.
I found Giornata this spring, while looking for small California wineries with a traditional/European approach but with a clear intent to showcase the fact the fruit is from California. There are a variety of wineries of this type, but only a few showcase Italian grapes. I’ve been really pleased with my first order. I plan to try some more this fall, and I hope to be able to visit them on a future trip!
- Giornata 2010 Aglianico ($25)
- Dei Feudi di San Gregorio Rubrato Aglianico ($19) – similar in many respects, aroma’s were led by smoke, followed by herbs (less specific than rosemary), and finally dark cherries