Thursday, March 03, 2011

Garantito IGP: Agliantico del Taburno Needs a Hero

This time Luciano Pignataro takes the stand:

This visit made me think of Pasolino, I see him often when I'm out in the country in the South. I remember how his poem about the Valle Giulia infuriated me, and how he also captured the deeper meaning of the tremendous changes that have taken place in our country. Yes, the sons of the farmers either went to the factories in the north, went abroad, or into the military.

Nicola D'Occhio had a uniform too; he was in the Guardia di Finanza. But now he makes Aglianico del Taburno. Certainly, life is hard, and one has to fight for market share, and make difficult choices, but what I find wonderful and fascinating is that there's no way Nicola would have had this opportunity 20 years ago. And to be able to tell these stories is what makes writing about wine worth while: one of the miracles of the Italian wine revolution, and, in the context of the national revolution, a southern voice.

Nicola and Antonia, Deucalione and Pirra, are young couples and live together on the beautiful flanks of the Taburno, overlooking Benevento. Volcanic soils dominated by Aglianico and Falanghina. The money to buy the land came from his great grandfather, who went to the Americas at the turn of the last century. His grandfather planted cereals and vineyards, sending the grapes to the nearby Cantina del Taburno, while Nicola, now 33, was the first to bottle, launching the winery in 2002 as a way to contrast the steady decline in grape prices.

An individual's story that shows what is happening: many 30-somethings have chosen to break ranks with the overgrown I-phone-bearing adolescents of the cities and return to the land, despite many difficulties and a life of sweat and toil.

Aglianico del Taburno speaks to us of Sannio, a region in which, to a much greater degree than Irpinia, viticulture is the primary income-providing agricultural activity. He tells us of an Aglianico less well known than his cousins in Vulture and Taurasi, and less fortunate than that of the Cilento, because it doesn't have Paestum to provide a marketing outlet. But Aglianico he is, with depth and allure, and never strident in the glass.

There is the Aglianico Base, with a yield of 80 quintals/hectare, the Riserva 36+6 that has (so far) been released in 2005 and 2006, and finally L'Eroe, the hero, which we tasted a brief vertical of, from 2004 to 2006.

I'll spare you the technical details: for a list price of 7.5 euros you'll drink a vino contadino, a wine with no jammy accents, humble in its aromas and vibrant on the palate, and a perfect accompaniment for the rustic traditional dishes that have by now left the homes to take up residence in traditional restaurants. The 2006 captured us most of all, thanks to deft wood use that left ample space to fruit, chewy, fresh, lithe sour cherries
Aglianico del Taburno needs heros. Drink L'Eroe, which will soon have the DOCG band on its neck. A wine that's truly Garantito IGP

Torre Varano a Torrecuso. Tel.0824.876372. Winemaker: Sergio Romano. Vineyard area: 12 hectares, personally held. Annual production: 100.000 bottles. Varietals: Aglianico, Falanghina, Coda di Volpe.

We Are:
Carlo Macchi
Kyle Phillips
Luciano Pignataro
Roberto Giuliani
Stefano Tesi

No comments: