Is Taurasi the Barolo of the South?

Taurasi Who?
Have you ever heard of Taurasi?  How about Aglianico? I thought so. When you’re trying to get some recognition for a little known wine, it’s helpful to compare it to a known reference. Anyone who drinks Italian wine has at least heard of Barolo, so why not?

Go for some rare, grilled red meat with your Taurasi

Go for some rare, grilled red meat with your Taurasi

Taurasi
Like many Italian wines, Taurasi is named after a town, not a grape. The town of Taurasi is about 75km east of Naples, in the foothills of the Apennine mountains. Taurasi is one of only 4 DOCG (highest quality rank in the Italian system) wines in the Campania region.  Taurasi wines must come from at least 85% Aglianico grapes, and must be aged for at least 3 years before release.  One of those years must be in barrel.

Aglianico is a grape used in wines all around southern Italy. It’s often a powerful, tannic wine, but I understand some versions are much softer and intended for early drinking.  The Aglianico based wines I’ve had fall into the “bruiser” category: brawny tannic beasts, perfect with rare red meat.

Barolo of the South, or its own animal?

Barolo of the South, or its own animal?

 What do you think of when you think “Barolo”?

Attribute

Barolo

Taurasi

 Very tannic

 yes  yes

Long aging before release

3 years, min. 2 yrs in wood 3 years, min. 1 yr in wood

Longevity after release

Well known longevity, some are accessible even while young 2007 is just a baby and needs more aging to tame its tannins

 Powerful, yet elegant

 yes  Powerful, yes. Rustic seems to fit better

 Intriguing nose

 yes – red fruits, tar, leather, roses  yes – dark blue fruits, leather, earthy

Is Taurasi the Barolo of the South?
To be clear: no one would ever mistake Taurasi for Barolo.  However, this wine has many common characteristics of what we think of Barolo, and it deserves attention on its’ own merits.  I thoroughly enjoyed this wine, tons of structure and a nose that I could just sit and smell all evening. My 2007 was a baby, and I’ll look forward to stashing a bottle and trying it again in a few years.  Just like its famous “cousin”, I’m confident it will be even better!

Donna Paolina text

The Donna Paolina Taurasi is deeply colored and highly structured

Donna Paolina Taurasi DOCG 2007 ($39 at South Lyndale Liquors)
Eye: Clear. Dark opaque center with a brick edge
Nose: so intriguing, dark dark blue fruit, leather, a bit of funk
Mouth: Lean and austere, tannins are chalky.  Rustic impression now, definitely needs food.  This wine will only benefit from more bottle age.

Overall, the nose on this wine is wonderful, you just want to sit and smell it. Still severe in taste, it needs rich food to balance.  My go-to dinner for structured reds is lamb chops on the grill, but this wine almost needed more.  Either a richer meal or just more time in the bottle before enjoying.

weeknight meal text

Quick meal to test out Taurasi

As it was a weeknight, the meal needed to be easy.  We had some leftover mushroom risotto that I just reheated.  You can’t call it risotto anymore, but it sure was good. The veggies are a mix of cauliflower and heirloom carrots grilled, then tossed with capers, balsamic vinegar and a touch of truffle oil.  A grilled leek on the side. The pasture raised lamb chops come from our friends at Sunshine Harvest Farms, and were briefly marinated in a bit of the Taurasi wine with some chopped rosemary.

taurasi_campania_lambchops 20150513 54

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. […] grape not seen very much outside of Italy (except for here and here). In Italy, it’s grown in Campania and Basilicata. In Basilicata, the Aglianico vineyards are all on the lower slopes of extinct Mt. […]



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