Irpinio Aglianico 2016
Producer: Cantina Lonardo
Region: Irpinia, Campania, Italy
In the south of Italy, in the region of Campania, there is a small town peppered with lush vineyards, stonework vistas, and gilded streets. This is Taurasi, a wine region known for producing extensively aged Aglianico. Taurasi takes its name from the Latin Taurus, meaning bull. The name is a nod to Zeus, who in myth turned into a white bull to win the affection of the Phoenician princess Europa.
While a deep mythical deep dive is not for this email, we recommend exploring the interwoven interest of Zeus and Argive royalty, for whom he appears to have an exceptional and concerning fondness.
Nestled in Taurasi is a small winery owned by Sandro Lonardo, a school teacher, and his wife Enza. They focus their production on the traditionally labeled “Taurasi” Aglianico, meaning vintages produced under the stringent aging and varietal requirements of the regional designation DOCG. In recent years, the sale of the often more expensive Taurasi wines have dwindled. To account for the decline, Lonardo makes a younger Aglianico under the name Irpinia (a subregion of Campania not restrained by rigid winemaking requirements. More than half of his fruit falls into this category.
Lonardo’s vision is simple:
Craft wines from grapes indigenous to the region and in the traditional style of the place.
Use native yeasts to better express the true terroir of Taurasi.
Optimize enological methods in order to better support sustainable yet efficient winemaking.
Use grapes exclusively grown on their own vineyards.
Much like their Taurasi vintages, their Irpinia Aglianico carries the telltale flavor profile of grapes grown on volcanic soils. There is something opulent yet smoky, gregarious yet restrained, complex yet slightly rustic. Coupled with their high altitude (1,300 feet above sea level) the resulting wine is a powerful combination of robust depth and fresh poignancy.