Appellation Guide: Aglianico del Vulture DOC (Basilicata, Italy)

Aglianico del Vulture DOC is a wine making area that will always be close to my heart for reasons of family heritage. My grandfather was born in the the village of Ginestra, a clay rich village in the heart of the DOC.

Regardless, the are is one of the most important red wine territories in the south of Italy. It's volcanic soils and high attitude make provide the perfect conditions for the Aglianico grape, a variety which ripens late and produces big, heavy red wines that can improve for up to a decade.

The best of these wines demonstrate lots of complexity on the nose, with aromas of black fruit and prune. With some maturation in wood they pick up tertiary aromas of coffee, liquorice, spice and herb.

The DOC was first created in 1971 and up until the creation of a DOCG for superiore wines, had received only modest amendments. It allows only for the production of red wine made with the Aglianico del Vulture grape. Producers are not obliged to mature it in wood but many do. Only inexpensive, large volume examples are released without some time in wood.

The production zone is fairly simple here; just 15 villages are incorporated into the DOC. For this reason there have been calls for the consorzio to capitalise on the comparisons with Barolo and pursue the creation of a Cru system. It's not a bad idea.

A combination of different soil types, exposures and altitudes there microclimates are quite different in different parts of the DOC. Villages higher up such as Maschito and Rapolla are known for their sandy soils which creates more aromatic wine. In Rionero in Vulture, Venosa and Ginestra for example, the vineyards have a high clay content.

Production zone: Rionero in Vulture, Barile, Rampolla, Ripacandida, Ginestra, Maschito, Forenza, Acerenza, Melfi, Atella, Venosa, Lavello, Palazzo San Gervasio, Banzi and Genzano di Lucania

Recommended producers: Cantine del Notaio | Casa Vinicola d'Angelo | Elena Fucci | Vini Laluce | Paternoster | Terre dei Rei | Vigne Mastrodomenico