Aglianico

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James Billy
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Aglianico

#1 Post by James Billy » October 17th, 2019, 9:19 pm

Ok. So I love Barolo/Barbaresco/Langhe Nebbiolo. Very keen on Etna Rossi. Don't mind a bit of Brunello and Chianti Classico. But where next? I've tasted a few Aglianicos and they look promising. Maybe a bit 'big', but it has complexity and interest (IMO.) Is this a good direction to go? Are there better varieties in Italy?

Yes it's all subjective, but Italy is such a complicated region to navigate, a few opinions would be welcome. TIA.
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Re: Aglianico

#2 Post by IlkkaL » October 17th, 2019, 9:51 pm

Nothing wrong with a little Taurasi every one once in a while, although in my personal experience they require a lot of time to mature, a lot. A 10-year old Mastroberardino Radici is not what I would call very approachable.

Otherwise it's the usual suspects I would look for: Alto Piemonte (Carema, Ghemme, Gattinara, Boca), Valtellina (a very small region with many emerging producers), Abruzzo (a good number of solid producers in addition to the legends Emidio Pepe and Valentini)...
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Re: Aglianico

#3 Post by Wes Barton » October 17th, 2019, 9:58 pm

Depends what you like, but there are near countless varieties there. Many producers off the beaten path really pushing quality with unique grapes.

Perhaps the best wine book ever written, well, a very fun and informative read, is Native Wine Grapes of Italy by Ian D'Agata.

A couple that are easier to find are the related Lagrein and Teroldego. They can both have a bit of a fresh hops character in the mix, which I quite like. Grignolino can be quite good.

As for any such question, if you post a link for a retailer you like, we can make some specific recs. (K&L would be optimal for me, since I've tried a lot of what they carry.)
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Re: Aglianico

#4 Post by Kelly Walker » October 17th, 2019, 9:59 pm

Many call aglianico the nebbiolo of the south. Very different profile but the complexity can reach highs. There are aglianico from various southern regions but I find those from Campania to be my preferred. Mastroberardino Radici and Feudi de San Gregario's various offerings. The Vulture are very classic with the Taurasi more polished. Galardi's Terra di Lavoro is unique, rather modern but very impressive. Liquid lava. Basilicata has Vulture that is very fine such as Balisico.
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Re: Aglianico

#5 Post by James Billy » October 17th, 2019, 10:06 pm

Kelly Walker wrote:
October 17th, 2019, 9:59 pm
Many call aglianico the nebbiolo of the south. Very different profile but the complexity can reach highs. There are aglianico from various southern regions but I find those from Campania to be my preferred. Mastroberardino Radici and Feudi de San Gregario's various offerings. The Vulture are very classic with the Taurasi more polished. Galardi's Terra di Lavoro is unique, rather modern but very impressive. Liquid lava. Basilicata has Vulture that is very fine such as Balisico.
[winner.gif] I thought nebbiolo of the south was nerello mascalese. Maybe Sicily doesn't count as the south as it's a separate island.

Anyway, I think I should deep deeper into aglianico territory. Thanks for the suggestions.

Thanks for the alternative suggestions, too! Hopefully I can explore them as well one day.

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Re: Aglianico

#6 Post by Rory K. » October 17th, 2019, 10:12 pm

For Aglianico de Vulture, I love Elena Fucci, see if you can find one at auction that's 10 years old or more, they tend to be a bit wild young. I hate the term nebbiolo of the south, while Aglianico can be very long lived and complex it's a complete different style of wine
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Re: Aglianico

#7 Post by James Billy » October 18th, 2019, 2:15 am

Thanks, Rory. I take nebbiolo of the south in the loosest form. I mean, I'm sure it's nothing like it really, but just the mere suggestion (to me) means it's a serious variety that has something to excite the serious wine drinker even if the two varieties are quite different.

Maybe I should have asked the question: 'is aglianico a variety that can excite the kind of wine drinker who loves barolo, Burgundy and Etna Rosso? Or are there better Italian varieties?'

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Re: Aglianico

#8 Post by James Billy » October 18th, 2019, 2:16 am

Rory, how would you characterise aglianico?

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Re: Aglianico

#9 Post by Otto Forsberg » October 18th, 2019, 2:38 am

James Billy wrote:
October 17th, 2019, 10:06 pm
I thought nebbiolo of the south was nerello mascalese.
Actually, to me, Aglianico is much closer to Nebbiolo than Nerello Mascalese. They do have somewhat different aromatics when they are young and Aglianico often produces more sturdy and concentrated wines, but not always - many Radici Riservas by Mastroberardino are noticeably lighter and more delicate than the average, super-powered high-octane Taurasis. They can be very Barolo-like from the get-go. However, Nebbiolo and Aglianico seem to converge quite a bit with age: as they lose their more distinctive primary qualities and start to show some tertiary characteristics, the wines - to me - become quite similar to each other.

Nerello Mascalese, on the other hand, feels more like a bolder and weightier counterpart to Pinot Noir, or perhaps Gamay from the best Cru Beaujolais sites. When young, it might share some qualities with a younger Nebbiolo, but as a whole, Nerello isn't that similar to a Nebbiolo, at least according to my palate.
James Billy wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 2:15 am
Maybe I should have asked the question: 'is aglianico a variety that can excite the kind of wine drinker who loves barolo, Burgundy and Etna Rosso? Or are there better Italian varieties?'
Definitely, although Aglianicos are often weightier and more extracted in style. I really don't find much interest in the modernist Aglianicos, but the best classic examples are up there with the greats of Piedmont and Sicily. The only problem is that they need time - all too often wines younger than 10-15 years of age are just too primary, too tannic or just more or quite closed. They really need time to come around.

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Re: Aglianico

#10 Post by John Kight » October 18th, 2019, 5:28 am

Sagrantino di Montefalco is worthwhile too. I ultimately prefer Aglianico and Nerello as it seems like there are more outstanding producers of those two, but there are some very good Sagrantino producers, including Paolo Bea (which is quite expensive, and not always everyone's cup of tea, but loaded with character), Lungarotti (consistently good, and well-priced), Perticaia, Cantina Scacciadiavoli, Antonelli San Marco, Lunelli, and Tenuta Baiocchi. Arnaldo Caprai is ubiquitous and get a lot of "points", but I've always found the wines exceedingly thick, tannic, bitter, out of balance and undrinkable.

For Aglianico, lots have already mentioned Mastroberardino and Galardi, but there are other terrific producers, such as Terredora di Paolo (possibly the single most consistent producer besides Mastroberardino), Molettieri (whose Cinque Querce Riserva is terrific), and Feudi di San Gregorio (which veered way off course toward internationally styled wines in the 2000-2006 era, but seem to be back to making great wines today).

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Re: Aglianico

#11 Post by Otto Forsberg » October 18th, 2019, 5:59 am

I still find many Feudi di San Gregorio wines a bit too modern for my taste - although it has been a few years since I've last tasted them. And some of their top wines feel like they can actually turn quite great if just given enough time.

Guastaferro makes some of the most impressive Taurasi wines from some ridiculously old ungrafted vineyards (the oldest are around 200 years old and still bearing minuscule amounts of grapes). These formidable wines, however, lack the finesse of Nebbiolos and Nerellos, being stylistically closer to super-concentrated and massively tannic wines from Montefalco or Madiran. Definitely built for the long haul.

d'Angelo makes some outstanding Aglianicos in Vulture. Very old-school and positively rustic stuff. The best vintages of their Riserva Caselle puts most of the Taurasi wines to shame.

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Re: Aglianico

#12 Post by Mike Evans » October 18th, 2019, 6:13 am

I can’t think of any appellation that is more fun to say than Aglianico del Vulture.

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Re: Aglianico

#13 Post by Keith Levenberg » October 18th, 2019, 7:44 am

James Billy wrote:
October 17th, 2019, 10:06 pm
Kelly Walker wrote:
October 17th, 2019, 9:59 pm
Many call aglianico the nebbiolo of the south. Very different profile but the complexity can reach highs. There are aglianico from various southern regions but I find those from Campania to be my preferred. Mastroberardino Radici and Feudi de San Gregario's various offerings. The Vulture are very classic with the Taurasi more polished. Galardi's Terra di Lavoro is unique, rather modern but very impressive. Liquid lava. Basilicata has Vulture that is very fine such as Balisico.
[winner.gif] I thought nebbiolo of the south was nerello mascalese. Maybe Sicily doesn't count as the south as it's a separate island.

Anyway, I think I should deep deeper into aglianico territory. Thanks for the suggestions.

Thanks for the alternative suggestions, too! Hopefully I can explore them as well one day.
Never really understood the "nebbiolo of the south" thing, the profiles are polar opposite. Aglianico is more like a cross between Graves and Hermitage, and maybe a dash of Bandol? I like Lavoro too - guilty pleasure. Titolo another one in that category, definitely aglianico but on the polished side. Perhaps Tecce or Ognostro are the best for those who like the wilder stuff. I've also got some Paternoster and Caggiano I've been waiting to see what happens to in the cellar.

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Re: Aglianico

#14 Post by Markus S » October 18th, 2019, 7:59 am

As long as we are playing crossing games, I'll chime in with a cross between tannat-touriga nacional-syrah-mourvedre for aglianico. I've never particularly cared for the 'nebbiolo of the south' moniker either. Lots of good examples and the quality is overall quite good, but I like to stay away from ones that fill up too much on new oak. Also, I've never had one that could be considered 'over-the-hill' and I've had Mastroberadino's 68 Riserva. These wines are ageless.
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Re: Aglianico

#15 Post by Dale McClaran » October 18th, 2019, 8:04 am

Cantine Lonardo makes some terrific and very ageworthy Taurasi's - leaning modern, but not by much. The 'Le Coste' has a striking elegance with the power of a coiled tiger, just waiting to strike.
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Re: Aglianico

#16 Post by Howard Cooper » October 18th, 2019, 8:26 am

James Billy wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 2:15 am
Thanks, Rory. I take nebbiolo of the south in the loosest form. I mean, I'm sure it's nothing like it really, but just the mere suggestion (to me) means it's a serious variety that has something to excite the serious wine drinker even if the two varieties are quite different.

Maybe I should have asked the question: 'is aglianico a variety that can excite the kind of wine drinker who loves barolo, Burgundy and Etna Rosso? Or are there better Italian varieties?'
I like alglianico (esp. in Taurasi) and Nebbiolo, but neither reminds me at all of Burgundy.
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Re: Aglianico

#17 Post by Howard Cooper » October 18th, 2019, 8:28 am

Markus S wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 7:59 am
As long as we are playing crossing games, I'll chime in with a cross between tannat-touriga nacional-syrah-mourvedre for aglianico. I've never particularly cared for the 'nebbiolo of the south' moniker either. Lots of good examples and the quality is overall quite good, but I like to stay away from ones that fill up too much on new oak. Also, I've never had one that could be considered 'over-the-hill' and I've had Mastroberadino's 68 Riserva. These wines are ageless.
I can see your analogy between Taurasi and Bandol.
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Re: Aglianico

#18 Post by Laurent Gibet » October 18th, 2019, 8:48 am

Some wines I rencently liked in a huge aglianico panel :

16,5/20 :
DOCG Taurasi - Contrade di Taurasi 2007

16/20 :
DOC Aglianico Del Taburno - Lorenzo Nifo Sarrapochiello "D'Erasmo" Riserva 2008
DOC Falerno del Massico - Azienda Agricola Viticoltori Migliozzi "Rampaniuci" 2009
DOCG Taurasi - Colli di Lapio di Romano Clelia "Vigna Andrea" 2004
DOCG Taurasi Riserva - Mastroberardino "Radici" 1999

15,5/20 :
IGT Roccamonfina - Azienda Agricola Galardi "Terra Di Lavoro" 2010 (aglianico + piedirosso)


Hence, some good quality but unable to challenge the best italian reds.

See here for an exhaustive description of aglianico by Nicolas Herbin (Basilicate, Campanie, Molise, Pouilles) :
http://www.invinoveritastoulouse.fr/ind ... basilicate
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Re: Aglianico

#19 Post by John Kight » October 18th, 2019, 8:53 am

One of the most expressive and "pretty" Aglianicos I've had recently was the 2008 Cantina Giardino "Nude" Aglianico d'Irpinia, which I had from a restaurant wine list recently. I've never heard of this producer or seen his wines anywhere, but it was good enough to seek out. I assume the "Nude" designation meant that it saw no oak (or possibly neutral oak), but I'm not sure.... Worth trying if you ever see it....Louis/Dressner imports.

------------
A quick update. Just looked it up and it is organic and does see old/neutral oak (24 months in old barrique and tonneaux, followed by 24 or more months in bottle depending on vintage).
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Re: Aglianico

#20 Post by Laurent Gibet » October 18th, 2019, 8:58 am

John Kight wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 8:53 am
One of the most expressive and "pretty" Aglianicos I've had recently was the 2008 Cantina Giardino "Nude" Aglianico d'Irpinia, which I had from a restaurant wine list recently. I've never heard of this producer or seen his wines anywhere, but it was good enough to seek out. I assume the "Nude" designation meant that it saw no oak (or possibly neutral oak), but I'm not sure.... Worth trying if you ever see it....
In the horizontale I mention above, 2 original (weird ?) wines - report by Pierre Citerne (Revue du Vin de France journalist) :
13. IGT Campania Aglianico - Cantina Giardino "Le Fole" 2009
Depuis ce millésime, le domaine produit des vins issus de ses propres vignes. Fermentation et élevage en fûts usagés. So2 dosé à moins de 20 gr de libre. Œnologue producteur : Antonio Di Gruttola.
A l’ouverture : DS15 - MS(15) - PS15. Note moyenne AM : 15
Après 5 heures d’aération : DS17 - PC16 - LG14,5 - PR(ED+16) - NH13,5. Note moyenne SOIR : 15,4
Robe dense. Expression très ouverte, prenante, en grand contraste avec la timidité de la précédente : violette, thym, romarin, grenade ou encore orange sanguine... Les suggestions sont multiples, flamboyantes – et évocatrices, pour nous, d'une syrah rhodanienne en vendange entière ! La bouche recentre les débats sur l'aglianico, vive, puissamment acide, assez linéaire mais gourmande, tranchante, si décidée...

14. DOC Campania Aglianico - Cantina Giardino "Clown Œnologue" 2008
Vignes plantées en 1936. Foulage aux pieds. Macération de 180 jours dans des jarres d'environ 200 litres. Elevage dans des bonbonnes en verre. Mise en bouteilles sans SO². Œnologue producteur : Antonio Di Gruttola.
A l’ouverture : DS16,5/17 - MS16 - PS16. Note moyenne AM : 16,3
Après 5 heures d’aération : DS16 - PC15/15,5 - LG(13) - PR(ED+15,5) - NH12. Note moyenne SOIR : (14,5)
Aspect nuageux, nuances orangées... Nez « rafleux », entre laurier, herbe sèche, viande et anchois, terre mouillée, cuir, sueur... évocation de très longues macérations, à la géorgienne. La bouche se tient, malgré un peu de sécheresse ligneuse dans les tannins, une matière peut-être émaciée, à la limite d'être poussiéreuse, mais riche en goût et en rebondissements. Le vin s'épure bien à l'aération, dans le verre, et s'assouplit considérablement au contact de la nourriture.
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Re: Aglianico

#21 Post by Laurent Gibet » October 18th, 2019, 9:16 am

Possible comparisons for aglianico :
* sangiovese (tannic, austere, acid) rather than nebbiolo
* grenache in Châteauneuf (solar) which would have a high acidity
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Re: Aglianico

#22 Post by John Morris » October 18th, 2019, 9:48 am

Keith Levenberg wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 7:44 am
Never really understood the "nebbiolo of the south" thing, the profiles are polar opposite. Aglianico is more like a cross between Graves and Hermitage, and maybe a dash of Bandol?
+1 I don't see much similarity in texture/structure or flavor/aroma between nebbiolo and aglianico.

I tasted a lot of aglianicos 20 years ago because a wine buddy got interested in them. A lovely old D'Angelo Aglianico del Vulture he served once piqued my interest. I remember a restaurant tasting of something like 20 wines. (That was tough work.) I even visited Basilicata in 2001 to see where Aglianico del Vulture came from.

A lot of those wines were pleasurable, and I occasionally find Irpinias that scratch a certain itch. But I never was fully bitten by the aglianico bug. (Later D'Angelos didn't age.)

When I discovered Etna nerello mascalese, it seemed like a more interesting, aromatic grape. Contrary to Otto, I do find lots of parallels between it and nebbiolo -- light color, aromatics, tannins. Yet many books (at least 20 years ago) said that agilianico was the third great red grape in Italy, along with nebbiolo and sangiovese. I never was convinced of that.

But this thread makes me think I should revisit aglianico. (So many grapes, so little time.... )
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Re: Aglianico

#23 Post by GregT » October 18th, 2019, 10:46 am

John Morris wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 9:48 am
Keith Levenberg wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 7:44 am
Never really understood the "nebbiolo of the south" thing, the profiles are polar opposite. Aglianico is more like a cross between Graves and Hermitage, and maybe a dash of Bandol?
+1 I don't see much similarity in texture/structure or flavor/aroma between nebbiolo and aglianico.

But this thread makes me think I should revisit aglianico. (So many grapes, so little time.... )
Ditto. I think they called it that because they were trying to get some respect for it and they figured it would make age-worthy wine, but it's too different in so many ways to be a good comparison.

And as far as being too modern, that's just weird to me. The grape came from what is now Turkey sometime around 600 BC. The Italians called it "Ellenico", which means it was Hellenic. So it's been around for a long time. The Greeks stored it in resin-coated containers. They added spices and flavors because the wine spoiled pretty much as soon as it was made. The Romans took it a few steps farther. They used to add lead. And honey. And seawater. Yum! Those are the wines I love because I don't like all this modern stuff.

And if you ever read Piny the Elder on the wines of Campania, he has a great recipe for the wine he gave to his slaves. For centuries the grape was used to make plonk for the peasants. It finally got some recognition as a "serious" grape with Antonio Mastroberardino's Taurasi in the 1970s. So unless people are adding lead and honey, pretty much all of the Aglianico on the market is modern.
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Re: Aglianico

#24 Post by Michael Martin » October 18th, 2019, 10:47 am

These guys (and fellow Berserkers) make an excellent domestic rendition of Aglianico. Especially the 2014.

http://westoftemperance.com/
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Re: Aglianico

#25 Post by James Sanders » October 18th, 2019, 11:50 am

If you are in Basilicata, Dimora Ulma in Matera has incredible verticals of multiple Aglianico del Vultura producers at very attractive prices. Many 15-20 year examples under 150 euro and their wine guru is very good at helping to navigate the list and serving. Interestingly, the Elena Fucci wines were far and away the most expensive, north of 500 euro for the older vintages.

https://www.dimoraulmo.it/en/

Keith is right about the taste profile. Not remotely like any Nebbiolo.

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Re: Aglianico

#26 Post by Hank Victor » October 18th, 2019, 12:23 pm

Galardi Roccamonfina Terra di Lavoro 2012
94 RP "From a ten hectare vineyard, the 2012 Roccamonfina Terra di Lavoro touches on many of the glory points that made this such an important cult wine for Campania. Although 2012 was a hot vintage, this wine shows an impressive sense of balance and elegance. This is especially apparent on the nose where it delivers blasts of dark fruit, balsam herb, tar, licorice and volcanic ash with meticulous precision. The fruit is layered, soft and ripe. In fact, the mouthfeel is the wine's best asset. Its fine tannins offer enormous structure, but they are soft and yielding at the same time. This is an open and honest expression of Aglianico (80%) and Piedirosso that has only just begun its long evolution."
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Re: Aglianico

#27 Post by Wes Barton » October 18th, 2019, 1:17 pm

GregT wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 10:46 am
And as far as being too modern, that's just weird to me.
Who said that? Otto mentioned "modernist" producers, contrasting their wines to traditional takes. My personal opinion is such producers are clumsy hacks, regardless of grape variety. They aren't "listening" to what the grape has to give. They are trying to force it rather than guide it. Making a hot, soupy, oaky mess to address tannins or get higher critical ratings?

There are plenty of good Aglianicos out there, and the potential of the grape is clear, but I have yet to have a great one. I'll defer to others on that. The excitement to me with Italian wines is mostly with the less common grapes from off-the-beaten-path regions. Producers don't have the constraints of expectations on them to conform and compromise. Rather they can pursue and explore, and really work to get the best out of the grapes. Italy is the most exciting place for wine right now, because so many are doing just that, and so many of their grapes have truly unique characteristics.
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Re: Aglianico

#28 Post by Otto Forsberg » October 18th, 2019, 2:27 pm

GregT wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 10:46 am
And as far as being too modern, that's just weird to me. The grape came from what is now Turkey sometime around 600 BC. The Italians called it "Ellenico", which means it was Hellenic. So it's been around for a long time.
That sounds interesting. Do you have any sources? Because to my understanding that's only a myth - the name "Aglianico" of the grape is slightly older than the supposed name "Ellenico" and these names appeared more or less at the same time: https://dobianchi.com/2008/01/29/aglianico-ellenico/. Also Wine Grapes by Robinson et al. corroborates this. Furthermore, what Turkey has to do with Hellenic? Hellas was a part of modern Greece.

However, Aglianico has certainly been around for a long time, although it's still unsure whether the variety actually existed back in the period Ancient Rome.
The Greeks stored it in resin-coated containers. They added spices and flavors because the wine spoiled pretty much as soon as it was made.
This is white wine now known as Retsina - nothing to do with Aglianico, really.
The Romans took it a few steps farther. They used to add lead. And honey. And seawater. Yum! Those are the wines I love because I don't like all this modern stuff.
To my understanding, that seawater thing was a Greek invention and was frowned upon Romans. Wines were certainly diluted with water almost everywhere for a very long period of time in the history, since most of the wine was very robust and rustic and diluting it made it more palatable. Also, as far as I know, lead wasn't "added" to wine, but instead in antiquity wine must was cooked in lead cauldrons, in order to produce sweet, concentrated syrup. This syrup was used as a preservative - and it would also increase the lead burden of people in antiquity.

Why lead cauldrons when they had copper as well? Well, wine made in those rustic conditions most likely contained quite high levels of volatile acidity, i.e. acetic acid. With copper acetic acid produces bitter copper acetate, whereas with lead acetic acid produces sweet lead acetate, i.e. sugar of lead. It was only a matter of taste.

And what's wrong with honey? I normally buy an inexpensive bottle of white wine during Christmastime and make ourselves a bottle of Roman muslum - i.e. a sweet wine-based beverage flavored with honey and spices. A great alternative to the mulled wine that's quite ubiquitous around here.
And if you ever read Piny the Elder on the wines of Campania, he has a great recipe for the wine he gave to his slaves. For centuries the grape was used to make plonk for the peasants. It finally got some recognition as a "serious" grape with Antonio Mastroberardino's Taurasi in the 1970s. So unless people are adding lead and honey, pretty much all of the Aglianico on the market is modern.
Campania was definitely the historical "wine factory" of Ancient Rome, but I really don't see what's the point of your argument here.

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Re: Aglianico

#29 Post by James Billy » October 18th, 2019, 2:55 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 8:26 am
James Billy wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 2:15 am
Thanks, Rory. I take nebbiolo of the south in the loosest form. I mean, I'm sure it's nothing like it really, but just the mere suggestion (to me) means it's a serious variety that has something to excite the serious wine drinker even if the two varieties are quite different.

Maybe I should have asked the question: 'is aglianico a variety that can excite the kind of wine drinker who loves barolo, Burgundy and Etna Rosso? Or are there better Italian varieties?'
I like alglianico (esp. in Taurasi) and Nebbiolo, but neither reminds me at all of Burgundy.
I never said that. I just said 'is aglianico a variety that can excite the kind of wine drinker who loves barolo, Burgundy and Etna Rosso?'

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Re: Aglianico

#30 Post by James Billy » October 18th, 2019, 2:59 pm

I'm so glad I started this thread. The wealth of knowledge is overwhelming! Too many great posts to reply to individually. Thanks for all your thoughts! flirtysmile champagne.gif

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Re: Aglianico

#31 Post by Chris Seiber » October 18th, 2019, 3:01 pm

I vacationed in that area in January, and tried mid to upper tier Aglianico at most of my lunches and dinners. Some pretty good, some too baked/ripe/heavy, overall I wasn't hooked, and I'm pretty easily hooked on Italian wines.

I think Sagrantino can be very good, though it seems to priced pretty aggressively too. Like Aglianico, it doesn't resemble Nebbiolo in any particular way.

To James Billy, I'd suggest looking at Alto Piemonte wines -- Gattinara, Spanna, Ghemme, not sure all the names they go under. They're mostly nebbiolo, from not too far from Piedmont, but north and at higher elevation, so lighter/cooler reds than Barolo and Barbaresco.

There are also some interesting reds from Veneto and Alto Adige. Someone mentioned Lagrein, which can be good. Sometimes you'll find merlot, pinot nero, or other international varieties, or blends, from those regions that are interesting if you like those wines in cool climate herbal type style.

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Re: Aglianico

#32 Post by Chris Seiber » October 18th, 2019, 3:05 pm

Another fun one to discover is the Vajra Langhe Freisa "Kye." Vajra is a good Barolo producer, but this bottling of Freisa is really good, good value for the price, drinks well young and also ages at least medium term well.

I've tried a few other Freisa and haven't had another particular hit yet - for example, I tried the G Mascarello one with high hopes, but it was very rustic and dirty, not really a good wine. Though I might have just had a bad bottle.

I assume you've tried some better Barbera? They don't generally reach very high heights, but they are good values and versatile wines at lower and mid price points.

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Re: Aglianico

#33 Post by John Morris » October 18th, 2019, 3:26 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 3:05 pm
Another fun one to discover is the Vajra Langhe Freisa "Kye." Vajra is a good Barolo producer, but this bottling of Freisa is really good, good value for the price, drinks well young and also ages at least medium term well.

I've tried a few other Freisa and haven't had another particular hit yet - for example, I tried the G Mascarello one with high hopes, but it was very rustic and dirty, not really a good wine. Though I might have just had a bad bottle.
The Vajra Kye can age a long time. A 1990 I served blind to a group in Vancouver in 2008 (including Berserker Bill Spohn and sometime Berserker Rasoul Salehi) was mistaken by most people as a Barolo, and it was at perfect moment.

If you can find Burlotto's freisa, it's very good, but in a very different, more approachable style. Fabio Alessandria, the winemaker, said the trick for him is to pick it pretty late. It's chewy -- more like a full-bodied dolcetto from Dogliani than a nebbiolo. I've found those chuggable.

The 2000 G. Mascarello that I opened a couple of years ago was a disappointment, too.

A bad freisa is like nebbiolo without any fruit -- all tannin and acid.
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Re: Aglianico

#34 Post by Rory K. » October 18th, 2019, 6:58 pm

James Billy wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 2:16 am
Rory, how would you characterise aglianico?
More like a N. Rhone Syrah! That said, you're probably right that barolo of the south is more about it being a serious/ageworthy wine, rather than a direct comparison. While I drink Nebbiolo (and the Nerellos) out of Burgundy bowls, I drink Aglianico out of a more typical Bordeaux glass. It's rustic, mineral, meaty, and capable of surprising elegance in the right hands. Are their better Italian varieties? maybe, but Aglianico has the best potential, and a higher number of producers trying to make world-class wine. Etna Rosso certainly, and if Sagrantino had more good producers that would be on the list (thought to be fair that grape was almost extinct at one point so it's made good progress). I think Aglianico and Etna Rosso are the best bet for someone you loves Burgundy/Barolo etc.
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Re: Aglianico

#35 Post by GregT » October 18th, 2019, 8:35 pm

Otto Forsberg wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 2:27 pm
GregT wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 10:46 am
And as far as being too modern, that's just weird to me. The grape came from what is now Turkey sometime around 600 BC. The Italians called it "Ellenico", which means it was Hellenic. So it's been around for a long time.
That sounds interesting. Do you have any sources? Because to my understanding that's only a myth - the name "Aglianico" of the grape is slightly older than the supposed name "Ellenico" and these names appeared more or less at the same time: https://dobianchi.com/2008/01/29/aglianico-ellenico/. Also Wine Grapes by Robinson et al. corroborates this. Furthermore, what Turkey has to do with Hellenic? Hellas was a part of modern Greece.

The fact that the documents from the 1500s are the earliest references he could find is not dispositive, nor does it mean that the name can't be related to Ellenico. And since Homer referred to the Greeks as Hellenes, and the name for the country is Hellas, I don't know how he can say that the word popped up in the 1500s. So he didn't really demolish any myth, but he did add some interesting information and the name may not be related although I've always been told that it was. That's what Berry Bros has on their website and it is stated elsewhere as well, but on reflection, it does seem a bit too easy so I won't repeat it until I do some more research somehow. And the grape, again perhaps wrongly, was thought to have been brought to Italy from Phocaea, which is of course in ancient Ionia, or Anatolia, or Turkey. But it's worth checking into further.

What Turkey has to do with it is that modern national boundaries were not the ancient boundaries. In fact there weren't really nations. The Ionians, who Herodotus and others considered some of the "original" Greeks, were in what today is called Turkey. When Cyrus invaded, he pushed the center of the Greek civilization west and Athens became the prominent Greek city as a result.


However, Aglianico has certainly been around for a long time, although it's still unsure whether the variety actually existed back in the period Ancient Rome.

The Greeks stored it in resin-coated containers. They added spices and flavors because the wine spoiled pretty much as soon as it was made.
This is white wine now known as Retsina - nothing to do with Aglianico, really.

Not relevant. What we call retsina today is not what I'm talking about. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all coated their amphorae with pitch or beeswax to make them perfectly air tight. They were used to transport olive oil, fish sauce, and wine. The color of the wine was irrelevant. I'm never heard or read anything that says resin-coated containers were only used for white wine. The only reason amphorae fell out of favor is because the Gauls had shown the Romans that wood barrels were a bit easier. And they didn't replace the amphorae for many many years.

The Romans took it a few steps farther. They used to add lead. And honey. And seawater. Yum! Those are the wines I love because I don't like all this modern stuff.
To my understanding, that seawater thing was a Greek invention and was frowned upon Romans. Wines were certainly diluted with water almost everywhere for a very long period of time in the history, since most of the wine was very robust and rustic and diluting it made it more palatable. Also, as far as I know, lead wasn't "added" to wine, but instead in antiquity wine must was cooked in lead cauldrons, in order to produce sweet, concentrated syrup. This syrup was used as a preservative - and it would also increase the lead burden of people in antiquity.

Why lead cauldrons when they had copper as well? Well, wine made in those rustic conditions most likely contained quite high levels of volatile acidity, i.e. acetic acid. With copper acetic acid produces bitter copper acetate, whereas with lead acetic acid produces sweet lead acetate, i.e. sugar of lead. It was only a matter of taste.

And what's wrong with honey? I normally buy an inexpensive bottle of white wine during Christmastime and make ourselves a bottle of Roman muslum - i.e. a sweet wine-based beverage flavored with honey and spices. A great alternative to the mulled wine that's quite ubiquitous around here.
And if you ever read Piny the Elder on the wines of Campania, he has a great recipe for the wine he gave to his slaves. For centuries the grape was used to make plonk for the peasants. It finally got some recognition as a "serious" grape with Antonio Mastroberardino's Taurasi in the 1970s. So unless people are adding lead and honey, pretty much all of the Aglianico on the market is modern.
Campania was definitely the historical "wine factory" of Ancient Rome, but I really don't see what's the point of your argument here.
My mistake. The recipe was from Cato the Elder. Pliny was the guy who described Coan wine, which was wine mixed with seawater.

Here is Cato's recipe. The Romans most certainly did add seawater:

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... ra/G*.html
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Re: Aglianico

#36 Post by James Billy » October 18th, 2019, 10:30 pm

Rory K. wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 6:58 pm
James Billy wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 2:16 am
Rory, how would you characterise aglianico?
More like a N. Rhone Syrah! That said, you're probably right that barolo of the south is more about it being a serious/ageworthy wine, rather than a direct comparison. While I drink Nebbiolo (and the Nerellos) out of Burgundy bowls, I drink Aglianico out of a more typical Bordeaux glass. It's rustic, mineral, meaty, and capable of surprising elegance in the right hands. Are their better Italian varieties? maybe, but Aglianico has the best potential, and a higher number of producers trying to make world-class wine. Etna Rosso certainly, and if Sagrantino had more good producers that would be on the list (thought to be fair that grape was almost extinct at one point so it's made good progress). I think Aglianico and Etna Rosso are the best bet for someone you loves Burgundy/Barolo etc.
Thanks, Rory. Sounds very promising!

Maybe Sagrantino would be next on the list....

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Re: Aglianico

#37 Post by Laurent Gibet » October 19th, 2019, 2:15 am

Sagrantino is sooooooo tannic.
More than nebbiolo or sangiovese, more than aglianico ... more than mourvèdre, malbec or tannat ...

This is why I did not mention it.
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Re: Aglianico

#38 Post by James Billy » October 19th, 2019, 2:52 am

I think if we've made it to this part of this thread it's safe to assume that you're not averse to tannins. [wow.gif]

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Re: Aglianico

#39 Post by Laurent Gibet » October 19th, 2019, 6:48 am

James Billy wrote:
October 19th, 2019, 2:52 am
I think if we've made it to this part of this thread it's safe to assume that you're not averse to tannins. [wow.gif]
Sagrantino's tannins are particularly fierce ...

Recently confirmed with :
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Re: Aglianico

#40 Post by Otto Forsberg » October 19th, 2019, 6:59 am

GregT wrote:
October 18th, 2019, 8:35 pm
The fact that the documents from the 1500s are the earliest references he could find is not dispositive, nor does it mean that the name can't be related to Ellenico. And since Homer referred to the Greeks as Hellenes, and the name for the country is Hellas, I don't know how he can say that the word popped up in the 1500s. So he didn't really demolish any myth, but he did add some interesting information and the name may not be related although I've always been told that it was. That's what Berry Bros has on their website and it is stated elsewhere as well, but on reflection, it does seem a bit too easy so I won't repeat it until I do some more research somehow. And the grape, again perhaps wrongly, was thought to have been brought to Italy from Phocaea, which is of course in ancient Ionia, or Anatolia, or Turkey. But it's worth checking into further.

What Turkey has to do with it is that modern national boundaries were not the ancient boundaries. In fact there weren't really nations. The Ionians, who Herodotus and others considered some of the "original" Greeks, were in what today is called Turkey. When Cyrus invaded, he pushed the center of the Greek civilization west and Athens became the prominent Greek city as a result.
But in the 1500's Southern Italy a term referring to Greek origin would've been based on the word Grecia, the connection between Hellas and "Hellenistic" was coined later and the synonym "Ellenico" started appearing after this. Again, a point made out also in the Wine Grapes book. According to this same book, from a linguistical perspective the most likely origin of the name comes from the Spanish word a llanos, i.e. "from the plains" - because the name seemed to have emerged during a period of when the Spanish occupied central Italy.

From ampelographical point of view, Aglianico was never brought from anywhere, but instead is an ancient Italian grape variety. After all, there are very few if any of those historical grape varieties left that were grown in the antiquity.

You're certainly right about the point on modern national boundaries, but "hellenistic" refers to Hellas and Hellas was the name for the peninsula that is the modern continental Greece. Anatolia was a different place from Hellas.

Not relevant. What we call retsina today is not what I'm talking about. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all coated their amphorae with pitch or beeswax to make them perfectly air tight. They were used to transport olive oil, fish sauce, and wine. The color of the wine was irrelevant. I'm never heard or read anything that says resin-coated containers were only used for white wine. The only reason amphorae fell out of favor is because the Gauls had shown the Romans that wood barrels were a bit easier. And they didn't replace the amphorae for many many years.
Sorry, I originally misread it as wine that was flavored with resin, in conjunction with flavoring the wines with spices and all that - after all, Retsina is one of the few extant historical styles of wine that came into fashion after the amphorae fell out of use. I concur with the history of amphorae and why they fell out of favor, you're entirely right about that. And there is definitely no basis on the idea of transporting only white wines in amphorae.

However, to my understanding, resin was only used to seal the amphorae airtight. Coating the amphorae with resin sounds weird, since to my understanding, resin is dissolved into wine. Coating the amphorae with beeswax sounds more sensible, because it really doesn't flavor the wine nor is it dissolved into wine.
My mistake. The recipe was from Cato the Elder. Pliny was the guy who described Coan wine, which was wine mixed with seawater.

Here is Cato's recipe. The Romans most certainly did add seawater:

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... ra/G*.html
No, that's only a description how Coan wine was made. According to Wikipedia, Coan wine was popular only in Greece, whereas the Romans didn't regard the wine highly: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coan_wine

There are even some sources in the Wikipedia page, if you want to look further into the subject.

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Re: Aglianico

#41 Post by Ian Sutton » October 19th, 2019, 4:34 pm

Hi James
In terms of what you've liked, there is plenty of it, so hopefully anything new merely adds onto the good stuff.

Aglianico certainly worth trying, and with age on if possible (for Taurasi). Plenty of regional variation though, so a grape that you can explore in a similar way to Nebbiolo in Langhe / Roero / Valtellina / Gattinara etc. I will strongly recommend Iand d'Agata's tome on Italian grape varieties, but with a firm warning... he's a very good writer and whilst he will damn as well as praise, he writes with a genuine enthusiasm for the underdog varieties, that it's all too easy to share that excitement. If you want to explore, then that's the book, with nothing to challenge it.

Other grapes / regions?
If you like Nebbiolo / Pinot Noir, then try Valle d'Aosta Fumin. Not a huge amount made, but a grape with clear nebbiolo family associations, but which I think also hints as being somewhere between the two grapes. Les Cretes is a safe place to start.

Vino nobile for a leaner / firmer take on Sangiovese, but also try the better producers of Emilia-Romagna. Drei Dona / Umberto Cesari are favourites on quality terms alone, but San Patrignano (as well as being fine value) are worth supporting for the incredible work they do, being a privately run drug rehabilitation organisation, giving people technical and life skills to make a better go of it second time round.

Perhaps worth trying the northeast Trentino / Alto Adige, but some of the native grapes can be a little bitter and overly large co-ops can be a limiting factor. No such problem with Elisabetta Foradori's teroldego based wines, but they are a somewhat isolated oasis in the region.

Plenty more. My dvice is to buy that book, then in a year or two you can return to this thread and complain about how you're now poorer (but happier)

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Re: Aglianico

#42 Post by Wes Barton » October 19th, 2019, 8:15 pm

Laurent Gibet wrote:
October 19th, 2019, 2:15 am
Sagrantino is sooooooo tannic.
More than nebbiolo or sangiovese, more than aglianico ... more than mourvèdre, malbec or tannat ...

This is why I did not mention it.
It doesn't have to be. Soil and winemaking. The Italian ones tend to be out-of-whack tannic, but that's what those sites give when ignorantly made. Many also show greatness from their sites, despite being rustic wines.
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Re: Aglianico

#43 Post by James Billy » October 19th, 2019, 11:36 pm

Thanks, Ian!

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Re: Aglianico

#44 Post by James Billy » October 20th, 2019, 2:42 am

There's a pretty good YouTube video called 'Know Wines in No Time' on aglianico.

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Re: Aglianico

#45 Post by GregT » October 21st, 2019, 6:47 pm

However, to my understanding, resin was only used to seal the amphorae airtight. Coating the amphorae with resin sounds weird, since to my understanding, resin is dissolved into wine. Coating the amphorae with beeswax sounds more sensible, because it really doesn't flavor the wine nor is it dissolved into wine.
The amphorae that have been found have shown various coatings on their interiors. Resin and other substances were used to seal them, but also to coat them because unglazed pottery is not really waterproof. There's a lot of research into what the amphorae were used for and it seems that they were re-used if they were not broken because sometimes you find traces of both wine and oils, otherwise they'd just be broken up and scattered in the streets.

You're right that the wine I mentioned was only Coan wine. But I did remember Pliny and he did spend several volumes writing about wine. They did cut it with seawater because remember, sometimes they reduced the must to a strong concentrate, and their wine probably sucked. Anyway, here's a great article if anyone is interested. Off topic regarding Aglianico though!

[cheers.gif]

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... Vinum.html


The principal substances employed as conditurae were, 1. sea-water; 2. turpentine, either pure, or in the form of pitch (pix), tar (pix liquida), or resin (resina). 3. Lime, in the form of gypsum, burnt marble, or calcined shells. 4. Inspissated must. 5. Aromatic herbs, spices, and gums; and these were used either singly, or cooked up into a great variety of complicated confections.

We have already seen that it was customary to line the interior of both the dolia and the amphorae with a coating of pitch; but besides this it was common to add this substance, or resin, in powder, to the must during the fermentation, from a conviction that it not only rendered the wine more full-bodied, but also communicated an agreeable bouquet, together with a certain degree of raciness or piquancy (Plin. H. N. XIV.25; Plutarch, Symp. V.3). Wine of this sort, however, when new (novitium resinatum) was accounted unwholesome and apt to induce headach and giddiness. From this circumstance it was denominated crapula, and was itself found to be serviceable in checking the fermentation of the must when too violent.
G . T a t a r

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Re: Aglianico

#46 Post by Monica Larner » October 21st, 2019, 7:45 pm

I recently made a new Aglianico discovery that I am pretty excited about: Stefania Barbot's 2015 Taurasi Fren (at $50). Her lower-end 2016 Irpinia Campi Taurasini Ion ($28) is gorgeous too, and you can't beat that price. I scored those two wines 95 and 93+ points respectively. In fact, the relatively unknown Taurasi Fren was one of my highest scoring wines from Campania (in my report published last week).

Best,
Monica
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Re: Aglianico

#47 Post by GregT » October 22nd, 2019, 12:26 am

Monica - do post more often! [cheers.gif]
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Re: Aglianico

#48 Post by Laurent Gibet » October 22nd, 2019, 2:21 am

Monica Larner wrote:
October 21st, 2019, 7:45 pm
I recently made a new Aglianico discovery that I am pretty excited about: Stefania Barbot's 2015 Taurasi Fren (at $50). Her lower-end 2016 Irpinia Campi Taurasini Ion ($28) is gorgeous too, and you can't beat that price. I scored those two wines 95 and 93+ points respectively. In fact, the relatively unknown Taurasi Fren was one of my highest scoring wines from Campania (in my report published last week).

Best,
Monica
Thank you for this indication.

The report I mention above points extra domains to discover (you might know them) :
Luigi Tecce (Irpinia et Taurasi)
Volpara (Falerno del Massico)
Pietracupa (Taurasi)
Nanni Copé (Sabbie di Sopra)
Musto Carmelitano (Aglianico del Vulture).
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Re: Aglianico

#49 Post by Markus S » October 22nd, 2019, 4:54 am

Nice to see an actual wine-related meme!
$ _ € ® e . k @

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Re: Aglianico

#50 Post by Dennis Borczon » October 22nd, 2019, 5:51 am

GregT wrote:
October 21st, 2019, 6:47 pm
However, to my understanding, resin was only used to seal the amphorae airtight. Coating the amphorae with resin sounds weird, since to my understanding, resin is dissolved into wine. Coating the amphorae with beeswax sounds more sensible, because it really doesn't flavor the wine nor is it dissolved into wine.
The amphorae that have been found have shown various coatings on their interiors. Resin and other substances were used to seal them, but also to coat them because unglazed pottery is not really waterproof. There's a lot of research into what the amphorae were used for and it seems that they were re-used if they were not broken because sometimes you find traces of both wine and oils, otherwise they'd just be broken up and scattered in the streets.

You're right that the wine I mentioned was only Coan wine. But I did remember Pliny and he did spend several volumes writing about wine. They did cut it with seawater because remember, sometimes they reduced the must to a strong concentrate, and their wine probably sucked. Anyway, here's a great article if anyone is interested. Off topic regarding Aglianico though!

[cheers.gif]

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... Vinum.html


The principal substances employed as conditurae were, 1. sea-water; 2. turpentine, either pure, or in the form of pitch (pix), tar (pix liquida), or resin (resina). 3. Lime, in the form of gypsum, burnt marble, or calcined shells. 4. Inspissated must. 5. Aromatic herbs, spices, and gums; and these were used either singly, or cooked up into a great variety of complicated confections.

We have already seen that it was customary to line the interior of both the dolia and the amphorae with a coating of pitch; but besides this it was common to add this substance, or resin, in powder, to the must during the fermentation, from a conviction that it not only rendered the wine more full-bodied, but also communicated an agreeable bouquet, together with a certain degree of raciness or piquancy (Plin. H. N. XIV.25; Plutarch, Symp. V.3). Wine of this sort, however, when new (novitium resinatum) was accounted unwholesome and apt to induce headach and giddiness. From this circumstance it was denominated crapula, and was itself found to be serviceable in checking the fermentation of the must when too violent.
Thanks soooo much for this article. It is fascinating and so obscure. Never knew where the term "must" came from (mustum, meaning fresh in latin).
This is the kind of uber geeky information that gives pleasure. My favorite series of lines included this on winemaking...

"The process was carried on in large caldrons of lead (vasa defrutaria), iron or bronze being supposed to communicate a disagreeable flavour, over a slow fire of chips, on a night when there was no moon"

I am sure that lead carried a sweet taste into the wine. Of course if you are a biodynamic Roman, they would attribute it to doing it on a night with no moon. Root day, flower day, and lead day. Cheers!

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