The Puglian Job, Part II

Aglianico: The next greatest unknown wines of Italy

Top 6 Aglianico tasted

2007 5 Uve Murgia Rosso IGT

Equal amounts of Aglianico, Montepulciano, Primitivo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
$NA, $15 in Italy
Very ripe on the nose with black fruits edged in smoky fennel seed notes. Sweetly fruited in the mouth and quite complex for a decidedly fruit-driven wine. The palate is full of black fruits with good acidity and a moderately long, succulent finish. 88pts

Alberto Longo
2007 4.7.7. Syrah

$NA, $20 in Italy
Dark and toasty on the nose with beefy aromas topped by coffee and chocolate shavings. Big and certainly well made with rich berry and plum fruit, accented with sweet, vanilla, cedar, and wood spice tones. Long, polished and international, though this does have a certain appeal. 88pts

Terre Federiciane
2008 Giove Rosso

60% Montepulciano, 40% Nero di Troia
Quite aromatic with stemmy, floral notes framing gentle dark berry fruit. A touch rustic in the mouth with vibrant cherry and blackberry fruit supported by good acids and slightly angular tannins. The fruit sneaks past the tannins on the moderately long finish. A classic table wine, delicious, interesting, fruit-driven without being fruity. 88pts

2006 Pier delle Vigne

60% Aglianico, 40% Montepulciano
A bit poppy and certainly leathery on the nose with some charred wood character integrated in rich blue and black fruits. Some wood sweetness on entry is followed by a nice, fairly elegant, if detail-less, mid-palate that offers up transparent blackberry fruits.  Could improve. 88pts

Conte Spagnoletti Zeuli
2009 Castel del Monte Rosso

Nero di Troia/Montepulciano
$NA, $7 in Italy
Fresh and slightly herbal on the nose with pure raspberry fruit and complicating soil and herbaceous tones. Lovely in the mouth, fresh and brisk, with modest tannins and bright acidity supporting transparent, fresh fruit topped with subtle herbal tones. Yes, it’s simple but balanced and drinkable. An ideal table wine. 88pts

2007 Rosso Canosa

65% Nero di Troia, 35% Montepulciano
Complex aromas of lipstick, smoldering hay, gravel, tar, dried flowers -- all underpinned by a touch of honeycomb sweetness. Black soil and spice tones dominate the entry with bitter cherry fruit on the mid-palate, which shows good intensity in a lean style. The finish is fairly long and mineral-driven with a nice wild cherry finale. 88pts

Tenuta Girolamo
2004 Petrakos

80% Merlot, 20% Primitivo
$NA, $32 in Italy
Intensely aromatic with rich notes of cocoa, gamy meat, and raw wood. Smooth on entry with good acids supporting lots of sour plum fruits that lead to a modest finish, which is cut short by aggressive tannins. Time might allow for some improvement here, but the tannins are out of balance and the fruit might lose freshness with time. 88pts

Castel di Salve
2007 P Priante

Negroamaro/Montepulciano, 50/50
Big tobacco, toast and black spice notes on the nose. Very polished and smooth in the mouth, with nicely integrated though noticeable tannin lending a chalky feel to the soft finish, which shows some coffee crema notes. A bit blocky and anonymous.  88pts

2008 L Lama del Tenente
35% Primitivo, 35% Montepulciano, 30% Negroamaro
$NA, $20 in Italy
Complex on the nose though mostly with toasty, milk chocolaty, oaky notes. Thick and chewy in the mouth with nutty notes up front, nice fruit on the mid-palate, and then cola tones on the short finish. Very modern-styled wine. 87pts

Villa Schinosa
2006 San Valentino

Nero di Troia, Cabernet Sauvignon
$NA, $20 in Italy
Stemmy on the nose with olive, olive leaf and scorched earth aromas. A bit heavy and over-ripe in the mouth with a soft easy feel and gently herb-tinged black fruits that are marred by a hint of bitterness on the moderately long finish. 87pts

2005 Terranera
40% Nero di Troia, 40% Montepulciano, 20% Aglianico
$NA, $25 in Italy
Intensely aromatic and spicy, with an underlay of roasted meat and spicy cinnamon top notes over hard black fruit. Sweet and round in the mouth with a very supple feel, though the flavors are a bit muddy. There’s a lot of dark fruit here but this wine trades clarity for density. 87pts

Terra Maiorum
2008 Castel de Monte

Nero di Troia / Montepulciano
Stemmy and herbal on the nose with a smoky, black spice top note. Easy in the mouth with candied, slightly sweet blackberry fruits and a nice touch of tannin that keep this balanced and adds a refreshing bite on the modest finish. 87pts

Antiche Aziende Canosine
2008 Mherum

35% Uva di Troia, 35% Montepulciano, 15% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
$NA, $15 in Italy
Rather intense on the nose with black fruit, earthy spice and light floral top notes. Feels well balanced in the mouth with aromatic spice tones in the mouth, polished yet abundant tannins, and nicely taut fruit that loses to the tannins on the modest finish. A bit modern and perhaps too extracted. 87pts

Duca Carlo Guarini
2008 Burdi Rosso

60% Negroamaro, 40% Primitivo
Lightly perfumed on the nose with a gently stemmy tone. Fresh and pure on entry with a bright, playful feel. The tannins are floating under the bright red fruits just adding a bit of texture. Neither big nor complicated but wonderfully drinkable. 87pts

Cantina di San Marzano
2009 Primitivo/Merlot 50/50

$NA, $12 in Italy
Darkly fruity on the nose with medicinal notes buried in sweet coffee crema notes. Big, sweetly fruity entry is followed by a big, slightly matte mid-palate that has a slight bitterness. This is pretty intense but at the same time it’s clumsy, with drying tannins cutting the finish short. 86pts

Alberto Longo
2008 Cacc’e Mmitte

50% Nero di Troia, 35% Montepulciano, 15% Bombino Bianco
$NA, $15 in Italy
A bit stewy on the nose, though not very fruit-driven with mostly tarry and smoky aromas. Soft and fresh in the mouth with a very juicy mid-palate full of blueberry fruit and fine follow-through. Easy drinking and pleasant. 86pts

Terre Federiciane
2006 Coppa Castello

70% Nero di Troia, 30% Montepulciano
Very wood-driven aromatics of milk chocolate, smoke, vanilla and grilled meats. Rich and dense in the mouth with lots of wild berry fruit draped in milk chocolate. It’s too heavy, thick and rich with wood tannin to drink well. Lacks any sense of finesse. 86pts

2007 Raro

60% Negroamaro, 40% Primitivo
Smoky on the nose with a dried earthy character. Round on entry with a nicely fleshy mid-palate that offers up somewhat anonymous dark fruits. 85pts

2007 Duo
Cabernet Sauvignon / Uve di Troia, 50/50
Lightly jammy on the nose with black currant fruit accented by notes of bitter melon and exotic fruit tones. Smooth and dense in the mouth with a lightly chewy feel and limited detail in the mouth. Lots of cocoa character on the modest finish gives this some complexity but it doesn’t fulfill the promise of the nose. 85pts

Cantina di San Marzano
2009 Rosso Calentini

Sangiovese/Negroamaro/Agliancio in equal proportions
$NA, $15 in Italy
A touch of caramel sweetness on the nose tops the toasty coffee crema notes. Light on entry then turning a bit round on the mid-palate and very floral in the mouth. This seems a bit staccato on the backend, lacking integration with plenty of fruit but the acid and tannins both stick out at certain points. 84pts

Conti Zecca
2007 Nero

70% Negroamaro, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon
This is totally dominated by coffee and toast aromas. International and anonymous. Drying and heavily extracted in the mouth with sweet fruit cut by dense woody tones on the mid-palate. The finish is short and dominated by rigid, stiff, woody tannins. 78pts

Villa Schinosa
2007 Laghiglione

$NA, $9 in Italy
This smells dreadfully over-ripe and pruny. In the mouth it’s marginally better but still shows distinctly over-ripe, soft, and unpleasant. NR

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Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: PELLEZZANO
    512238 55

    Before arriving in Puglia the grape aglianico was introduced in Campania by the Greeks maybe 1,500 years ago.
    You should dedicate, later one, some lines to the wines of Campania.


    Jan 17, 2011 at 6:15 PM

  • As most of the wines you mentioned are N/A in the U.S, there are several CA. producers of Aglianico. You can search for "california aglianico producers". Some that I know of are Caparone in Paso Robles (there seem to be 3 others in Paso), VJB in Sonoma Valley & Montevina in Amador County.

    Jan 17, 2011 at 9:48 PM

  • Snooth User: hhotdog
    Hand of Snooth
    78705 465

    great stuff here always i love the history and stories abut the wines. 2008 Metiusco Rosso Passito sounds right up my alley. can't wait for the next round!!

    Jan 17, 2011 at 11:22 PM


    Jan 18, 2011 at 8:51 AM

  • Snooth User: bropaul
    268864 97

    I had my first chance to visit Puglia in September. Since it was September and we were on the coast, it was mostly white wine. I had my first taste of both bombino bianco and malvasia di Trani - any chance you willl be reporting on the white wines too?

    Jan 18, 2011 at 10:55 AM

  • Been enjoying an inexpensive blend (neprica) from Tormaresa in Puglia. Makes a great table wine. 40% negromaro, 30% primitivo and 30% cab. The recent batch of articles on Puglia have been quite interesting.


    Jan 19, 2011 at 12:03 AM

  • this is a wonderfully instructive article highlighting some of the best producers in the area. great work, well done! dom

    Jan 20, 2011 at 6:41 AM

  • Greg, your notes on the Grifalco della Lucania wines are unclear about which of their wines they pertain to. I can see by the pricing that they're different, but you neglect to distinguish bottlings by name, e.g. Gricos, Damaschito, Bosco del Falco, Grifalco. Any clarification appreciated!

    Jan 20, 2011 at 10:20 AM

  • Snooth User: bici
    28235 5

    Hi, Iam curious to hear if the Aglianico wines from Puglia are rated higher than those from Basilicata/ Campania regions. i ask becaue i have really enjoyed the Primitivos and Negromaro wiens that i have tasted these past few years.

    I am looking forward to tasting my first Aglianico wins asap.


    Jan 20, 2011 at 12:26 PM

  • Snooth User: Helen Poole
    1337036 29


    Aug 30, 2013 at 5:55 AM

  • Snooth User: anvilpep
    1370081 34


    Sep 24, 2013 at 12:51 AM

  • fantastic

    Sep 27, 2013 at 1:52 AM

  • fentastic

    Oct 06, 2013 at 11:37 PM

  • great

    Jan 21, 2014 at 1:01 AM

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