Basilicata Aglianico Eruption #ItalianFWT
If there’s ever an under-the-radar Italian region, Basilicata is it. Located in the instep of the boot of Italy, it’s not a big tourism area, or an area of commerce. No big cities. Very little access to the coast. With one exception, wines from Basilicata are not heard of or seen outside the region. The shining star of Basilicata is the Aglianico grape, grown on the slopes of the extinct volcano, Mt. Vulture.
Aglianico del Vulture
Aglianico is a 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. Vulture. Aglianico del Vulture is quite highly regarded, but I found the styles vary widely, from distinctly traditional to very modern international.
Cantine del Notaio L’Atto Basilicata IGT 2013 ($27 at South Lyndale Liquors)
Eye: Clear, medium intensity ruby color
Nose: Blue fruit, fresh, a touch of pine tar in the background.
Mouth: Medium body, good acidity and medium + tannins. Nice length to the finish.
This was the easiest drinking of our three Aglianico’s. A bit of oak influence, but not overwhelming. This was the group favorite wine both by itself and with the meal.
Vigneti del Vulture “Pipoli” Aglianico del Vulture DOC 2010 ($18 at Zipp’s Liquors)
Aged 10 months in 60% stainless and 40% 2nd year barriques.
Eye: Clear, ruby, deep intensity.
Nose: Excessive oak notes, smoky, vanilla overwhelms the fruit.
Mouth: Medium+ body, strong tannins, acidity is moderate. Long finish
This was a well made wine, but I just didn’t like the flavor. Clearly crafted for the international palette, I thought the oak overwhelmed the other flavors.
D’Angelo Rionero in Vulture Aglianico del Vulture 2012 ($17 at South Lyndale Liquors)
According to the winery, this wine is aged in “big barrels” for 20 months.
Eye: Clear, but a touch of cloudiness (unfiltered?). Deep intensity ruby in color.
Nose: Fresh dark blue fruit, a touch of rosemary, balsamic vinegar.
Mouth: Dark rosemary herbal impression, strong tannins, medium + acidity. Nice long finish.
This was my favorite of the Aglianico del Vultures tasted. Oak is well integrated in the background, very nice with food.
Pasta in southern Italy is likely to avoid any use of eggs and relies almost entirely on the flour and water with just a tiny amount of other ingredients. Cavatelli is very typical all over southern Italy. Take some time on a Sunday afternoon to try your hand at making your own! (click on any photo below to view as a slide show)
Wine Pairing – Semolina Cavatelli with Beef Ragù
Cavatelli pasta are made for Beef Ragù, the curved form and all those ridges are perfect for holding the sauce. We finished the dish with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and fresh thyme leaves. The thyme provided a pretty green highlight and fresh herbal aromatics to top the rich flavors.
As for the wine pairing, everyone enjoyed the L’Atto as an easygoing wine with enough depth to stand up to the chewy texture of the pasta and the deep, meaty ragù. With a traditional palette, I thought the D’Angelo was perfect with the dish. Even though I didn’t care for the Pipoli on its’ own, it was nice enough with the dish. All the wines had the structure and tannins to pair with this rich pasta dish.
#ItalianFWT bloggers weigh in on Basilicata
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Cooking Chat – Pasta with Pecorino and Bacon Plus Wine Pairing
The Wining Hour – Basilicata Aglianico and Veal Osso Bucco
Recipes for Semolina Cavatelli with Beef Ragù
With just a bit of searching you can find a variety of recipes for semolina cavatelli and beef ragù on the web. If you’re a fan of handmade pasta, I can highly recommend Pasta by Hand by Jenn Louis. Jenn’s book includes recipes for handmade pasta from each region in Italy as well as a number of simple sauces. I love regional recipes! For Basilicata, Jenn recommends semolina cavatelli with a ragù sauce.
Ingredients (measure by weight for the best, most consistent results) Instructions
Ingredients (measure by weight for the best, most consistent results)