If you like big and bold Cabernet, try this. Our benchmark big red wine, with an almost Bordeaux sensibility. Red and and black fruit, big but polished tannin, and a super-long finish. Bring out the steak, the fire-charred foods, and all the braised goodness. Over 30 months in barrel and two years in bottle, but still fresh and full of fruit and vitality.
Grown at 1450’ elevation on red, obsidian-strewn soil resulting from Mt. Konocti’s volcanic upheaval, Aglianico is Prima Materia’s most important bottling, bringing the monster Cabernet experience through this wonderful grape.
Tasting notes: Our biggest, boldest red wine, with the Sagrantino just a hair behind. Loads of dark red and 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 or old school Bordeaux loaded with black rock earthiness, but more Italianate.
Vineyard: Taurasi Clones VCR 2 (virused with red blotch, tight bunches, larger berries, acidity plus earth, beautifully rustic) and 7 (fruit, spice, small open clusters, more “modern”) planted in 2003 on bilateral north/south cordon utilizing “California sprawl” trellising and St. George rootstock. Though cordon pruning works, we are seeing that Aglianico is very susceptible to pruning wounds, so we are chopping arms and starting over with cane pruning. Approximately 7% Montepulciano interplanted. Nearly dry farmed. No pesticides or herbicides.
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.
95% Aglianico with approx. 5% Montepulciano interplanted and cofermented
About 2.8 tons per acre yield
11 5-15 year 225l barrels, all quite neutral
No racking until bottling, but occasionally aerated while being left on lees by pumping to a drum then back into barrel
200 cases produced
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