Description 1 of 3


Name of varietal: Aglianico
Common synonyms: Aglianico del Vulture, Ellenico, Ellanico, Eilanikos, Agliatica, Uva Nera
Parentage of the grape: indigenous to either Greece or Italy
History of the grape: There is documented proof of the existence of Aglianico in Basilicata, Italy as far back as the 6th century. There are three versions of how it got there, and as of press time, there is no concrete DNA proof of what is correct. One theory is that it was brought to Italy from Greece, and is the reason why it is sometimes called “Ellenico” meaning “from Helena,” a.k.a. Greece. Another is it was planted by the Greeks in Campania to grow a local Falernum, which was their equivalent of a First Growth. The third theory is that it grew wild in Southern Italy, but was first discovered by the Greeks, who called it “Eilanikos,” which means “vine in the trees.” So the Greeks had something to do with it, but just what is uncertain. 
Regardless of which version one decides to follow, Aglianico became a star red varietal in Southern Italy. Though it can be consumed as a young table wine, it is a well-structured, food-friendly grape that benefits from long cellar aging. 
Characteristics of the grape: medium-full bodied, dark red to deep purple, strong but accessible tannins, dark cherries, blackberries, plums, coffee, leather, tobacco, orange peel
Regions where the grape is currently important: The following DOC’s in Italy: Basilicata; Aglianico del Vulture, Campania; Aglianico del Taburno, Falerno del Massico, Taurasi. In other parts of the world: Australia, California, Texas, Washington. 
Type or types of wines the grape produces: dry red wine, sparkling (both dry and sweet)
– Description from Amanda Schuster

Back to top

Description 2 of 3


Grape: Aglianico

Color: Red


Main Regions: Italy (Apulia, Basilicata, Campania).


Description: Aglianico has a storied history dating back to the Roman Empire. It is rumored to have been a major component in the ancient wine of Falernum.  


Characteristics: Body: (Med-Full);  Flavors & Smells Of: (Cherry, chocolate, earth, spice).


Wine Styles: Dry red, semisweet, spumante.


Origin: Greece.




Important Aglianico Wines From Italy:


     Aglianico del Vulture DOC (Basilicata)

     Taburno DOCG (Campania)

     Taurasi DOCG (Campania)

     Falerno del Massico DOC (Campania)

– Description from Craig Donofrio

Back to top

Description 3 of 3

Along with Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, Aglianico is considered one of Italy’s three noble grape varietals. Aglianico was originally transplanted from Greece to southern Italy in the 7th century B.C. The early Greeks recognized that the volcanic soils and climatic conditions of the region were ideally suited to viticulture. Despite the early plantings of Aglianico in Campania and further south in Basilicata, until very recently, Aglianica has been overlooked by the international wine buying public. However, a renewed interest and investment in south Italian wines has brought a new level of recognition to Aglianico. The best expressions of the grape come from Campania’s Taurasi DOCG and Basilicata’s Aglianico del Vulture DOC. The former are often referred to as the “Barolo of the South”.

The wines themselves are extremely high in both tannins and acidity. Often closed in youth, with time, Aglianico develops rich game, earth and dark fruit qualities. In Taurasi, the wines must be aged for a minimum of three years before release and are allowed up to 15 percent of other grapes, such as Piedierosso and increasingly Merlot, in order to soften the wine’s rougher edges.

The limited acreage devoted to the Aglianico grape in California is centered around Paso Robles and Amador County. However, given the renewed interest in Aglianico based wines in Italy, it should only be a matter of time before Cal-Ital producers begin to plant more significant acreage of this grape in the state.

You rule southern Italy with quiet strength, from a knarly throne perched high in the hills of Campania. While you choose to govern with the humility one would expect from an Oenotrian deity, we shouldn’t mistake this for a demure personality. For those poor impetuous souls that have dared to imbibe your vinous wares before they were ready, your vengeance has been a tannic bolt aimed at their palate. – Description from Appellation America (view original content)

Back to top

« Back to Aglianico Overview

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Recent Forum PostsView all

Aglianico wine ratings and reviews

Snooth Media Network