Here’s a wine called Calabria, varietally labelled as aglianico, yet it comes from the Riverina in Australia, not Italy. Got it? It’s a challenging grape variety, is aglianico. Max Allen praises the variety heavily in The Future Makers (2010, Hardie Grant) saying “I am very excited by the potential of this southern Italian red grape in Australia … Early Australian examples are encouragingly earthy, tannic and robust“. I think the grape’s abundant acidity is a fair addition to this roll-call. I like the idea that producers in the hot inland regions of Australia such as the Riverina are looking at some of the more interesting Italian varietals that may be well suited to their climates, and capable of producing premium table wines while retaining their acidity. The proof as always though is in the tasting.
Which then leads me to the wine. On the one hand, we have a wine that displays the varietal charms of aglianico well, and is sold at $15 too, so it’s hard to be too fussy. It is a deeply saturated colour somewhere between purple and ruby. On the nose, there are plums, pulp from plums, baked fruit, spices, stones, grape skins, raw meat and grass. So quite interesting at this price point. On the other hand, the elevated acidity that runs through the palate and envelopes the fruit, and is typical of the variety, will not be for everyone, and I found it personally challenging. An interesting wine for the price. 84 points.