Sunday, October 12, 2008

Italian Wine Series: Part 2-The Wines of Basilicata

"Basilicata, also known as Lucania, is an often neglected region of arid hills and desolate mountains that can be bitterly cold for a southerly place. But the cool upland climate has its advantages for viticulture, in wines that can show enviable aromas and flavours. Basilicata has only one DOC in Aglianico del Vulture, but that, at least, gives the inhabitants a source of pride. One of southern Italy's finest red wines, it is gradually gaining admirers elsewhere.

The Aglianico vine - which is also the base of Campania's vaunted Taurasi - was brought to Basilicata by the Greeks, perhaps as long ago as the sixth or seventh century BC. (Its name is a corruption of Hellenico). On the slopes of the extinct volcano known as Monte Vulture it makes a robust, deeply coloured wine that from fine vintages can improve for many years, becoming increasingly refined and complex in flavour. There are also youthful versions of the wine, sometimes semi-sweet and even sparkling, but the dry "vecchio" or "riserva", after ageing in oak casks, rate the most serious consideration.

Aglianico is also used for "vini da tavola" in other parts of the region, notably in the east around Matera, where reds from Sangiovese and Montepulciano also originate. White wines of interest are the sweet Moscato and Malvasia, the best of which come from the Vulture zone and the eastern Bradano valley." excerpt from


In an interview I did with Keith Beavers from InVino Wine Bar, I asked him what was the first wine that made him realize he loved wine? His answer was a wine from Regione Basilicata.

"It was a 1999 Paternoster Aglianico Del Vulture Don Anselmo. It was so full bodied and robust with rose petals and licorice and a tannin structure as mammoth as the mountain it was grown near yet harnessed and balanced. It sent off alarms in my mind and soul telling me this was very important somehow. And here I am a servant of wine, spreading the love...I hope."

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