Aglianico del Taburno, Campania’s deep reds

These notes accompany a in-depth feature on Sannio, Campania. For profiles of all of these estates please see Regional report: The wines and winemakers of Sannio.


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La Rivolta, Aglianico del Taburno Rosato 2013, Campania, Italy
The Aglianico has a short maceration in the press to extract colour. Quite an orangy colour and an open, gently oxidative style. Pleasing herby soft fruit, quite vinous, but it is a dry and slightly fruitless style on the palate that doesn’t really deliver. 80/100.

Masseria Frattas, ‘I Caudium’ Aglianico del Taburno 2013, Campania, Italy
An estate producing 120,000 bottles annually for the past 15 years. Bold, deep colour, just softening to pink towards the rim. Juicy, soft berry flavours. Lovely floral lift to the aromatics. Gentle berries flood the palate too, a hyper-Beaujolais style perhaps, but coffee fills in on the finish and with soft structure gives this some flesh and easy-drinking appeal. 86/100.

Caputalbus, Aglianico IGT Benevento 2013, Campania, Italy
Owned by a young guy who has returned from living in Ireland to farm his father’s vineyards. 35,000 bottles annual from the lower part of the mountain. Deep and saturated colour. Much firmer but a lovely vanilla character to this, pleasing and rounded and full of berry fruits and little cherry lift. Lots of coffee and hints of pleasing gaminess. Firm on the palate and has a meatiness as well as the fruit, good smooth tannins and gentle acids for easy drinking rusticity. 87/100.

Il Poggio, Aglianico del Taburno 2012, Campania, Italy
150,000-bottle production, established for 15 years. Quite a muted nose, with ripe red fruits and a touch of liquorice. Lovely palate, the cedar and coffee melding with firm blackberry and cherry fruit, a little savoury plum flesh depth to this, a touch of spice, but finishing with gentle and persistent structure. 87/100.

Cantine del Taburno, ‘Fidelis’ Aglianico del Taburno 2011, Campania, Italy
From the Taburno Cooperative, found 1972. Solid just mellowing colour, but crimson still. Fresh, seems to be unoaked, with some herbs and delicate floral notes to modest, creamy red fruits. Good freshness on the palate – a less overtly commercial, sweet and soft style, with elevated acidity and much firmer tannin structure, arguably lacking just a touch of fruit plumpness. 350,000 bottles of this wine are produced and it has 5% each of Cabernet and Sangiovese in the blend. 86/100.

Il Poggio, ‘Safinos’ Aglianico del Taburno 2011, Campania, Italy
Youthful crimson colour. Powerful nose, lots of creamy oak and toast that is dominating the fruit character. There is very nice, full fruit on the palate, but the oak tannins are drying, meaning the sweet fruit at the core of this is slightly blunted, finishing relatively short and a touch astringent. A really good wine in there, but would have benefitted greatly from less oak. 87/100.

Terre d’Aglianico, ‘Ellenico’ Aglianico del Taburno 2011, Campania, Italy
Wine growers for generations, now bottling 30,000 bottles. A little lighter in colour, lots of open, coffeeish development of the aromas. The palate has gentle, sweet fruit, very open and attractive but for drinking now, a feeling that it is teetering on the edge. A little sour cherry acid creeping in to the plush, sweet fruit picture. 86/100.

Nifo Sarrapochiello, Aglianico del Taburno 2011, Campania, Italy
A young winery producing 60,000 bottles. Rich, creamy crimson colour. A herbal note to this, the floral and dry red fruits, hinting at blackberry. Lovely sweet fruit on the palate, plenty of juicy deep fruit and chocolate richness. Smooth and classy, plenty of vinous character, vine fruits and a firm finish. Is there a tiny prickle of refermentation? If there is, it adds brightness. Hard to call this without tasting another bottle, but 86/100.

Cantine Iannella, Aglianico del Taburno 2011, Campania, Italy
Historic private winery bottling 400,000 bottles in total. Smooth, vinous character, herbs and red fruits, a touch of coffeeish oak and of earthiness and spice. Very juicy and firm on the palate, with a core of acidity and spicy tannin, this has power and a hint of complexity. 87/100.

Azienda Votino, ‘Furius’ Aglianico del Taburno 2011, Campania, Italy
50,000 bottle production but 80% of it is white. A former doctor, now making wine from his family vineyards. This wine spent one year in new barrels. There is a touch of resinous new oak, but it is moving into cedar and tobacco. Very good black fruits here, and a touch of red berries, also a little cherry. Very nice palate, plenty of elegance here as well as charm, with buoyant berry fruits and very good balance of coffeeish oak, smooth tannins and pert acidity. 89/100.

Torre del Chiusi, ‘Arces’ Aglianico del Taburno 2011, Campania, Italy
Another historic producer, 100,000 bottles. Amongst the first to produce a Riserva of Aglianico. Open, rounded and relatively soft style, though it does have a little curranty, slightly raisiny and volatile quality that comes through. Sweet and curranty on the palate. 83/100.

Fattoria la Rivolta, Aglianico del Taburno 2011, Campania, Italy
From a non-traditional wine growing family, who employ an oenologist from Avellino with knowledge of making Taurasi. Rich, coffeeish and elegant, with some cedar and smokiness, and elegant balance. Lovely notes of flowers and pretty dry red fruits. A very classy wine, with excellent balance and length. 90/100.

La Fortezza, Aglianico del Taburno 2010, Campania, Italy
500,000 bottle production from a winery and 5* hotel/restaurant built five years ago. A little hint of tomato leaf, but nice fruit comes through. Balanced and savoury, with a fine balance and very nice, understated style. 87/100.

Torre a Oriente, ‘U’ Barone’ Aglianico del Taburno 2009, Campania, Italy
Daughter Patricia returned from Milan after studying oenology and had to fight her father’s convictions to the old ways in modernising their 35,000 bottle production. Softening edges, plenty of oak, but masses of ripe, sweet, very sweet fruit underpinned by coffee and chocolate with a smooth tannin finish. A big wine, modern and plush, and very well done of its style. 89/100.

Fontanavecchia, Aglianico del Taburno 2009, Campania, Italy
150,000 bottles from an estate formed 20 years ago. One of the first private wineries. Feels rich and full, though there is a nice hint of Aglianico’s herbal side too. Lots of bittersweet structural acidity and tannin, and a rich, lightly raisiny wine with obvious ripeness again. Powerful and sweet in the finish. 88/200.

Tenuta Carpineto, Aglianico del Taburno 2008, Campania, Italy
10,000 bottles of this wine from “the sweet spot of Aglianico, not as tannic as the others,” according to a local sommelier. Much more soft, amber creeping into the rim. Herbs and coffee and very sweet notes to this, suggesting very ripe fruit. Bloody ripeness and huge sweetness, this has spice and a lot of personality, the tannins and acidity dry, the wood tannins drying the finish slightly, but this is really pleasing and mature Aglianico finishing on currant fruit and spice. 89/100.

Torre del Pagus, Aglianico del Taburno 2008, Campania, Italy
Fifteen year old winery, always experimenting with Aglianico. 50,000 bottles. Obvious age to the colour here, a lot of amber and a fair amount of sediment in my glass unfortunately. Volatile, oxidised and not in a good place. Tasted from two bottles. 75/100.

Ocone, ‘Diomede’ Aglianico del Taburno 2007, Campania, Italy
Historic winery in Ponte, organic with an average elevation of 400 metres. Much more youthful colour with some floral elegance and lift, though some creamy coffee comes through. On the palate it has good balance, a sweet fruit core still, and has nicely fine but grippy tannins and that bittersweetness that is very pleasing. Spicy, chocolaty and long, with still a good fruit core. 88/100.

Caputalbus, ‘Illunis’ Aglianico del Taburno Riserva 2011, Campania, Italy
Has a creaminess and black cherry fruit, but also a slightly animal, leathery character – but not at all unpleasant. The sweet concentration of very ripe fruit, and then a little cherry juice and skins hint of tartness to join the plush sweetness and coffee. Smooth and elegantly done, though plenty of oak. 89/100.

Masseria Frattasi, ‘Iovi Tonant’ Aglianico del Taburno Riserva 2011, Campania, Italy
Lots of quality, plush, chocolate and soft vanillin oak, with masses of velvet sweetness and plushness, a crowd pleasing style but positively sweet – almost tastes like a passito style. 87/100.

Cantina del Taburno, ‘Bue Apis’ Aglianico del Taburno Riserva 2011, Campania, Italy
From the 200-year old vineyard I visited (see a short video), 3,000 bottles produced. Dark, subtle, spicy, with deep notes and a little resin character. Has a huge natural concentration and again enormous sweetness, but this time a little more tempered by the tannins and acidity. Arguably still a little too sweet, but impressively deep and full. Chocolate and cherry finish. 90/100.

Nifo Sarrapochiello, ‘D’Erasmo’ Aglianico del Taburno Riserva 2007, Campania, Italy
Organically certified. A slightly dank note to this, a slightly less cleanly fruity, but then it is older. Huge chocolate sweetness, quite enveloping, with super smooth tannins and a little bit of raisined, prune quality to the fruit suggesting extra ripeness, Loads of coffeeish oak, in a big, no hold barred style, but it is well done, finishing with fruit and spice more or less in balance. 88/100.

Ocone, ‘Anastasi’ Aglianico del Taburno Riserva 2007, Campania, Italy
Produced organically but not certified. Enormous amounts of oak on this, like a strawberry sundae. Oak bomb style, with a very drying finish with all those wood tannins. 81/100.

La Fortezza, Aglianico del Taburno Riserva 2007, Campania, Italy
Much more elegant, much more light and shade about this, with some cherry and lifted aromas helping give this fragrance and elegance, the oak not nearly so dominant. Still has that characteristic sweetness to the fruit, but much more finesse, long, sweetly elegant with creamy tannins but a little edge and medium-bodied finesse. 90/100.

Cantine Ianella, ‘Don Nicola’ Aglianico del Taburno Riserva 2007, Campania, Italy
Showing a little development on the colour, very pleasing aromatics again – there is a weight of oaky aroma, charry toast, but the fruit is fresher than in some here. The palate has the core of plush sweet berry fruit, a juiciness and plum flesh richness, but this does have a bit of balancing freshness form the acidity and the tighter tannins. 89/100.

Tenuta Carpineto, Aglianico del Taburno Riserva 2007, Campania, Italy
Some ochre development of colour. A little bit animal and earthy, much less glossy than some. The palate is concentrated, with a sweet intensity to the fruit and then coffee and soft brown sugar notes filling in, leaving this feeling a little sweetish, the acidity and the tannins very soft. A touch of sour plum does help. 87/100.

Torre Dei Chuisi, ‘Limite’ Aglianico del Taburno Riserva 2007, Campania, Italy
A much more youthful, solid crimson colour. Just a touch of volatility, with plenty of oak. So much sweetness and oak, again just too much sweetness making this rather cloying, not enough structure to carry it. 86/100. Terre d’Aglianico, ‘Tatillo’ Aglianico del Taburno Riserva 2007, Campania, Italy
A touch of lightness to the colour here – less dense. Just pure coffee and mocha, all about the oak. That sweet, soft oak just swamps the palate too – there is such lovely sweet fruit here, but the whole effect is pruney, overripe and sweet. 82/100. Fontanavecchia, ‘Vigna Cataratte’ Aglianico del Taburno Riserva 2007, Campania, Italy
Not produced every year, this has a creamy, dense colour. The oak here is plentiful, but it is better matched by the ripe but not overripe weight of fruit. It allows a little more of the cherry and herbal influence to come through, giving this sweetness and plushness yes, but a little energy and more life and less dead weight of overripe fruit and oak. 89/100.

Torre a Oriente, ‘Don Curzetto’ Aglianico del Taburno Riserva 2006, Campania, Italy
Very solid, youthful colour, just a hint of ochre on rim. There is a little raisin quality here, and yes, plenty of plush mocha coffee oak, but again there is a hint, a suggestion, that it will have some light and shade too with the fruit and hints of floral character coming through. The palate is powerfully concentrated, and though once again I feel this would benefit from a touch less ripeness and a touch less oak, it has a fine intensity and a certain purity that is good. 89/100. See all stockists on wine-searcher.

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