Aglianico del Vulture
Lorenzo Piccin is a winemaker living in Torino. He's just half an hours drive or so from the world famous Barolo and Barbaresco vineyards.
But, his winery is on the other side of the country, and every few weeks he takes a 12-hour bus ride to Basilicata, at the foot of Monte Vulture.
Here there is zero Nebbiolo, this is Aglianico country.
His "commute" alone, should tell you how passionate he is about the vineyards and wines of this remote region. They are certainly are unique.
Monte Vulture is about 30 miles east of Avellino and the other famous Aglianico zone of Taurasi, and it shares many similarities. But, there are also distinct differences.
The Vulture Mountain is an ancient, dormant volcano and the rich, black soils are exactly what Aglianico needs to gain both power and structure.
But the vineyards here are generally higher elevations than Taurasi--some of the highest in Southern Italy--and there are almost constant cold, dry winds coming from the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The days are warm and very sunny, but temperatures drop rapidly at night--even in the middle of summer--which leads to a long slow growing season. Again, perfect for Aglianico.
Lorenzo’s family is actually from Tuscany, and his parents had a successful winery in the Vino Nobile DOCG of Montepulciano before selling it in the late 1990’s.
Lorenzo’s father than started a new project in Vulture. And, after spending several harvests helping out, he decided he wanted his own winery and began leasing 6 hectares of vines that now make up the San Martino label.
Because of the winds and high elevation, Lorenzo says it is relatively easy to farm organically, and he has done so from day one. In the winery everything is gentle and a without manipulation, only small amounts of SO2 are added when necessary.
The goal is to avoid over extraction, and indeed the wines of San Martino are elegant and balanced, built on frames of both tannin and crisp acidity.
They are a far cry from the rich, high abv, fruit bombs that some producers made famous (or infamous) 20 years ago.
Lorenzo makes three wines, but today we are focusing on the Aberesko (translated as “Albanian”, which has a strong influence on the local dialect), which is made from mostly old vines grown between 500 and 600 meters.
It is truly classic, in the best sense of the word, Aglianico del Vulture. Aromatic, volcanic, fiery and powerful but with surprising lift and the sort of dusty, amaro laced flavors that keep you coming back for more.
This wine is quite new to the U.S. market (importers Louis/Dressner just started working with Lorenzo) and brand new to us. We’re really excited to introduce it to you today!