Grown at 1450’ elevation on red, obsidian-strewn soil resulting from Mt. Konocti’s volcanic upheaval, Aglianico is Prima Materia’s most important bottling.
Tasting notes: Our biggest, boldest red wine. Black fruits with black cherry, dark plums, licorice, baking spice, graphite, cassis, and a touch of roasted herbs. Medium acidity and grippy signature tannins are definitley present, but in refined, crafted form. Good minerality. Like a mountainside Cabernet Sauvignon, but more Italianate.
91 points Wine Enthusiast - "This is a seriously structured and concentrated multi-vintage blend that's based in dark chocolate, black pepper and pomegranate flavors and coated in firm, fine-grained tannins. This gutsy Italian varietal will be ideal to pair with a roast or braise."
Winemaking: Hand harvested. Native fermentation in bins, gentle hand punchdowns after a cold harvest and roughly 4-5-day soak. Just a bit of whole cluster as Aglianico doesn’t seem to like very much for us. Bins fermented to different peak temperatures. 16-20 days fermenting then wood-basket pressed at dryness. No sulfur added for one year, no racking until bottling 30 months later (average). Aglianico does not have reduction issues, though it can completely shut down for years, leading to fretting over release dates.
Vintages: A study in contrasts. 2017 for us had double “normal” rain fall, and a rollercoaster of heat spikes and cool days, yielding an acid-driven, spicy wines of lower alcohol. 2018 was back to sustained heat, and less than ¼ of the rainfall the prior vintage enjoyed, yielding a broad palate, lower acidity and deeper color and fruit tones. 2018 also had abnormally elegant fine-grained tannins, with Fall perhaps mirroring its homeland in the volcanic Campanian mountains.