Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Azienda Agricola Magnoni: Fine Wine from Il Cilento

The Azienda Magnoni is a small estate in the Cilento region, about 120 kilometers south of Naples; the land had long been belonged to the Magnoni family, but Salvatore didn't decided to work with it until about 12 years ago, when they were faced with the choice of selling or making wine.

The vineyard -- about 2 hectares; they also have olive groves -- is planted not far from the sea (though the opposing side of a valley hides it from view) at an elevation of about 300 meters, on prevalently clayey calcareous soils with a SSW exposure. It's mostly Aglianico, though there is a little Primitivo.

Azienda Agricola Magnoni Primalaterra Paestum IGT Aglianico 2009

This wine also contains about 15% Primitivo -- the Disciplinare allows it -- whose function is to make the wine more approachable. Deep pigeon blood ruby with violet rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with red berry fruit supported by greenish accents, chalk, leaf tobacco, and spice, with some underlying plum from the Primitivo, and sunny acidity to provide balance. On the palate it's bright and fresh, with red fruit, a mix of berry fruit and plum, supported by warmth and some sandalwood spice that flows into a clean fresh berry fruit finish. Pleasant, and quite approachable though not lacking in complexity, with the Primitivo doing a nice job of smoothing and softening the Aglianico. They also drink it with shellfish, for example an impepata di cozze (mussels), and I can see why.
2 stars

Azienda Agricola Magnoni Primalaterra Paestum IGT Aglianico 2008

The previous vintage; it's deep pigeon blood ruby with cherry rim, and has a fairly intense bouquet with berry fruit supported by greenish leathery accents -- the Primitivo is a little more evident here -- and has some jammier accents too. Hasn't completely come together yet. On the palate it's quite harmonious, with red berry fruit supported by some prune fruit and by tannins that are smooth and glancing, and also by slight plum sweetness, with it all flowing into a clean bright berry fruit finish. Pleasant but needs a few more months to come together. A classic example of a slower to mature vintage.
2 stars

Azienda Agricola Magnoni Primalaterra Cilento DOC Aglianico 2009

Deep black cherry ruby with cherry rim. The bouquet is rich, with cherry fruit supported by some greenish vegetal accents; it's quite pleasant and also quite ripe, On the palate it's full, with rich cherry fruit supported by minerality and deft sandalwood laced tannins that flow into a clean fairly bright finish with tannic underpinning. I found it pleasant and quite approachable though a touch dry in the finish -- there is some new small wood -- though in the wines defense it is quite young, and also in a tasting situation. The same dryness will make it work well with succulent red meats, and it will reward those with the patience necessary to let it age for a year, or two, or more.
2 stars

A note: Salvatore's family also makes olive oil and runs a B&B that, to judge from the pictures on their site, would be a beautiful place for a getaway.

The Photo used here is lifted from Luciano Pignataro's very nice profile.

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