Donnachiara Aglianico Irpinia 2013

I was told this thing was going to be good, and they were right. Yet again the way that one species – vitus vinifera – acts as the basis for such wildly different wines is astonishing. And that idea barely addresses the way in which mere fermented grape juice expresses such evocative aromas and tastes. That’s why we like it so much.

As my first aglianico, I was a little trepidatious. I wasn’t sure that I was in the mood for a full-bodied, high acid, high tannin, medium to medium-plus alcohol glass of wine. The miracle is that despite that being a reasonably accurate description, she didn’t read that way. At all.

Perhaps that’s the charm of aglianico – a kind of sneaky deception that draws you in with a distinctive nose and more-ish mouthfeel.

In any case the aromas are of dusty old shoes, black fruit, cured meat, smoked pork fat, green peppercorns, which describes a kind of savoury platter resting on a sturdy fruit table. That’s about right. It’s interesting and charming and charming, just like a good smorgasbord should be.

On the palate there is no big tannic attack, no alcohol heat, and no acid melt-up. If anything the fruit feels fresh and lively, acids just right and a kind of wonderment at how that trick played out.

Satisfaction is a squirrelly emotion to nail down, but that’s the way this wine affected me.

The next day the dark, ever so slightly sour cherry flavours came to the fore. Still the lovely charcuterie and dusty nose, but wow, the fruit here is wonderful. Smooth as a magic carpet. Quite something.