Our latest Aglianico displays big, expansive flavors of dark chocolate, black fruits and cedar. It is satisfyingly savory with a big hit of umami. Intense and mouthcoating, it is dark and somewhat enigmatic, with hints of smoke and dried rose petals. Approachable now, the wine will display even greater complexity after a few years in the bottle.
The 2014 harvest got an early start due to warm and wet weather in February and March. Though the precipitation did nothing to ease our long-term fears regarding the water supply, it did allow the vines to get a healthy start to the season.
The rest of the season progressed dreamily, with few extremes of temperature. Harvest was on track to get an early start—and it did—but cool mornings in August slowed down ripening, giving the grapes more time to develop flavors.
Aglianico is a dark-skinned Italian variety indigenous to the Campania region around Naples. It produces a deep ruby wine with powerful aromas and flavors and significant tannin. Our friends Bill and Kathy Collins grow the only Aglianico in Napa Valley, all of which comes to Benessere. We handle the grapes gently throughout fermentation, with a single daily punchdown to keep the cap moist. The wine matures in a mix of new and used French oak barrels for 18 months before bottling.
Enjoy with braised lamb shanks, steak au poivre, alongside roasted duck with a berry compote or a mushroom carpaccio with gremolata and shaved parmigiano.