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. Black fruits with black cherry, licorice, baking spice, graphite, cassis, and a touch of roasted herbs. Medium acidity and grippy signature tannins but in refined, crafted form. Good minerality. Like a mountainside Cabernet Sauvignon, but more Italianate. 92 points Wine Enthusiast.
Vineyard: Clones VCR 2 (virused, tight bunches, larger berries, acidity plus earth) and 7 (fruit, spice, small open berries) planted in 2003 on bilateral cordon utilizing “California sprawl” trellising and St. George rootstock. 7% Montepulciano interplanted. Nearly dry farmed. No pesticides. Hand harvested.
Winemaking: Hand harvested 10/26/15. Gentle manual punchdowns after a passive cold harvest slow start. Bins all fermented at different peak temperatures. 15-day fermentation then wood-basket pressed at dryness. No sulfur added for one year, no racking until bottling 30 months later. Unfined, unfiltered. 120 cases produced.
Vintage: Drought led all conversations in early 2015. However, strong and compact rains in February and March secured a solid growing season with drought limiting grape set. During harvest, there were no extreme heat waves, which helped moderate ripening. Drought ripened fruit was picked earlier than ever before however, and it felt odd picking two weeks ahead of schedule. Timing aside, the modest temperatures of late summer and fall afforded a leisurely late-season crush, keeping sugars reasonable and acidity present.