Even though it's summer, I don't think you should forget red wine and wait for the Fall to come around before opening another red. With that in mind, I popped open a red Italian this week. An Aglianico from Campania.
While Italy is probably best well known for Chianti and Brunello (made from the sangiovese variety) and Barolo and Barabesco (the Nebbiolo grape), there are a lot of hidden gems available that are cheaper then the "biggies" but still give you bang for your buck.
Aglianico is grown mostly around southern Italy in Campania and Basilicata. Like most Italian varieties, this one has been around for centuries and many people think that the Greeks brought this particular variety to Italy oh-so-many years ago because the name is a corruption of Ellenico, Italian for Greek. Aglianico is known for having high acidity and firm tannins - sounds like a perfect food wine to me. Not really something you'd want to drink alone (either by yourself or without food, even though it's only 13% alc).
The wine we had was an Aglianico Terredora 2005.
Appearance: A dark, inky black color
Nose: I really liked the aromas coming off this one. At first I got hit by this herbal, almost musky animal scent and then the aromas of black cherries, berries and a bit of spiciness, could have been pepper, maybe a bit of sweet spice as well.
Mouth: Wow! I loved the silkiness of this one, it just coated my mouth with lots of black cherry and ripe black fruit flavors, a hint of toasty smoke and a nice mocha finish to it. The tannins were there but there were never too obvious. I was afraid that this was going to be a monster wine that would blow my taste buds out of the water. But no, we had this with a big hunk o' meat and it definitely stood up to it without laying waste to my palate. As I said earlier though, this isn't really a wine you'd want for just sippin' and chillin' out on the patio. Save that for the white, but for dinner, this is definitely a winner. And at around £10, much cheaper then Brunello.