2010 Aglianico ‘Titolo’ by Elena Fucci - 538 Wine Notes
Elena Fucci’s estate is in the town of Barile
The Aglianico del Vulture is a red wine made from the black grape Aglianico cultivated in the Vulture area that is situated in the north-western part of the province of Potenza in the Regione Basilicata in south Italy (The inner heel of the boot). In 1971, Aglianico del Vulture became a DOC (denominazione di orgine controllata) and in 2010 the certification controlled designation of origin guaranteed (denominazione di origine controllata e garantita, DOCG) for Aglianico del Vulture Superiore. It is considered among the best vines produced in Italy and also called ‘Barolo of the South’ due to the similar way in production and taste.
The grape originated in Greece and was brought to the south of Italy by the Greeks, likely into Italy by settlers at Cumae, now Pozzuoli, and there spread to various points in the regions of Campania and Basilicata. While still grown in Italy, the original Greek plantings seem to have disappeared. Oenologist Denis Dubourdieu has said "Aglianico is probably the grape with the longest consumer history of all."
Elena Fucci grew up in a home placed in the middle of the vineyards that her grandfather began farming in the 1960’s, selling the fruit to the local cooperative. Rather than sell off the family properties, Elena took on the challenge of stewarding the oldest vineyards on Monte Vulture forever changing the future of the Aglianico del Vulture DOC. 600 meters up on the steep slopes of the volcanic cliffs, the vines benefit from the intense sunlight of the south, as well as from dramatic day and night temperature differences that promote freshness and acidity. But overall, the Monte Vulture climate is relatively cool and the harvest is one of the latest, beginning in the last week of October. The majority of the vines were planted in the 1950’s in the dark, mineral-rich pozzolanic soils that composed of layers of clay interspersed with lapilli and ash from the eruptive phases of the now dormant volcano a few hundred meters away.
Fucci de-stems the grapes and crushes in small batches and then ferments in stainless steel tanks that are able to control the temperature from getting above 24 degrees C. The wine is transferred to 100% all new oak barrels and malolactic fermentation takes places before the wine is aged for 12 months. There is no fining or filtration to ensure that “Titolo” remains true. After bottling, the wine is allowed to rest 6 months before shipping to market.
Aglianico is a very dark, almost black grape. The wine is also dark and intense ruby red with an ample and complex nose of ethereal spices, dark cherry, blackberry preserves, rosemary, tobacco and cinnamon with light hints of vanilla from the oak aging. The wine is pretty dry on the palate without being dusty with full bodied, firm tannins and a super long finish. It’s intense right now.
Naturally, Fucci’s dedication to the land of her family and the long history that created the terrain, the viticulture and enology is considered “modern, but not modernist.” The vineyards are organic, the grapes are hand-picked, and the clusters are crushed in small batches.