A Couple of Aglianicos From Campania: Stuck in the Tyranny of 89 Point Wines

Aglianico might well be one of Campania’s signature red grapes. Ontario receives very little Campanian wine. The Liquor Control Board of Ontario prefers other Italian wine regions particularly Tuscany. Aglianico was brought from Greece to Italy by the Phoenicians. In fact Aglianico is the corruption of the Italian word for Hellenic “Ellenico”.

Our first Aglianico is a Mustilli Aglianico 2017.Nosing it reveals some black cherry, raspberry and cherry liqueur. On the palate the tannins are mild. It is a very high toned with sour cherry, cranberry and a hint of dates. The acids seem to be creeping on the far outer edges of the wine indicating this is a “drink now” wine. A good but not spectacular wine. I think this would suit a Greek potato salad which consists of warm potatoes, local field tomatoes, basil and anchovies. I have only been eating fresh tomatoes for a decade and it was this salad that finally got me eating this delightful fruit. In fact until field tomatoes are gone my breakfast will be a tomato sandwich with mayonnaise and lettuce. Bacon not required.

As a last thought there is a flood of good wines in the market but exceptional wines are rare at a reasonable price. It is so difficult to lock into these wines but it has been British Columbia that has been impressing me particularly Stag’s Hollow, Crescent Hill, Mayhem and Meyer Family Vineyards. Campanian wines such as Piedirosso, Barbera and Lacryma di Christi have also bowled me over in Campania but alas it is a rare occasion they are brought into Ontario.

(Mustilli Aglianico 2017 DOC Sannio, Mustilli, Sant’Agata dei Goti, Italy, $16.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 19292, 750 mL, 12%, Robert K. Stephen, A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 89/100).

We move to another Aglianico from Cantina Sanpaolo from the Campanian region of Italy. It is garnet coloured. As for aromatics raspberry, black cherry and some blackberry. On the palate tannins are light. Notes of sour cherry and some strawberry. Well made but there is no magic in this wine. Like so many wines in today’s world it simply lacks brilliance. When you do taste a brilliant wine you’ll know it. I had this wine last week with Pasta a La Norma and it didn’t compliment that very tasty dish. It has a short finish. It might suit a Greek dish papoutsakia (stuffed eggplant boots). I never was a fan of eggplant but those little eggplant boots and Pasta a la Norma have taught me with eggplant it’s all in the preparation!

Here is a link to my favourite little eggplant boots https://culinarybackstreets.com/cities-category/athens/2020/recipe-6/

(Cantina Sanpaolo Aglianico 2017, IGP, Cantina Sanpaolo, Torrioni, Italy, $14.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 473132, 13%, 750 mL, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 89/100).

Published by Robert K Sephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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