The King Grapes in South Italy

ripe grape on green branch

From this time, I will write articles unique to sommeliers on an irregular basis.

There are more than 2000 indigenous grape varieties in Italy. There are various types of grapes, such as famous grapes and rare and lesser-known grapes, but I would like to introduce them little by little.

The grape I’m introducing this time is a black grape called “Aglianico”. If you like wine, you may know it, but I think it’s not widely known. I would like to talk about the wonderfulness of Aglianico.

First of all, the main production areas of Aglianico are Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, Calabria and Molise. No, where is it! I know you think so. These states are in Southern Italy. The big and famous city is Naples, Campania. Surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, it has a relatively warm climate.

Southern Italy has a huge number of indigenous grape varieties. In the old days, most wines were locally produced for local consumption. There are many lesser-known grapes because they were not actively exported in the past. Among them, Aglianico may be said to be famous.

Aglianico has a thick skin and produces a heavy red wine with a rich fruitiness. It is suitable for long-term ripening and is used for high-class wine called Taurasi. Aglianico is such a wine, but in some places it produces a very elegant, softly sour wine. Even though southern Italy is warm, but the temperature difference is large in the mountainous areas. Aglianico growing in this area has these characteristics.

Southern Italy is a very interesting area with various climates and soils, such as at the foot of a volcano and along the sea, and the expression changes depending on where the same grapes grow. The famous Italian wines are concentrated in the north, but from now on, please pay attention to the south as well.