Aglianico (ahl-YAH-nee-ko). Perhaps one of the more difficult grapes to pronounce by many, the name might sound goofy at first but this bad boy is all business in the glass. Originally native to Greece, it is now grown primarily in southern Italy, but Aglianico has also been making its presence known in the Texas wine industry for some time now. It produces wines that are robust and rustic, with fruit forward dominance but an old world personality nonetheless. Both the Texas High Plains and Texas Hill Country winegrowers do a great job cultivating it. In fact, the very wine up for review today blends the AVAs into one, utilizing Texas High Plains fruit and Texas Hill Country winemaking, the wine is the 2011 Duchman Family Winery Aglianico.
Duchman Family Winery is no stranger to producing Mediterranean style wines and Aglianico is part of their wine program, in fact you can read about a recent vertical tasting they did that was attended by Jeff and Gloria. This particular vintage hails from a growing season that brought severe drought to Texas. This particular year offered intense and stressed fruit, that helped to make wines that were quite muscular. It speaks of the vintage in the glass with refined but bold fruit.
Let us start from the beginning. Once the cork is removed, the wine pours a garnet color in the glass, with a slightly lighter orange hue at the rim. The nose initially has a touch of sulfur when poured, but when aerated (swirled intensely) in the glass, it does blow off to reveal clean fruit components. The bouquet is quite complex, tossing around hints of dark chocolate first and foremost, only to reveal a sub-layer of stewed and baked red and black fruits, and a faint nuance of cedar. The palate all but confirms the nose with the addition of coffee bean on the tongue, which is quite pleasant if you ask me. The tannins are surprisingly grippy for a wine that has had some bottle time, and the acid is still quite bright. The wine finishes strong and rests comfortably on the back palate, almost as if it was enjoying a hammock on a summer day.
- Duchman Family Winery Aglianico, 2011 vintage
- Winemaker: Dave Reilly
- Appellation: Texas High Plains AVA, Oswald Vineyard
- Grape variety: Aglianico
- Barrels: 100% neutral oak
- Clarity/brightness: Clear/bright with no evidence of gas or sediment
- Tannins: Medium plus
- Acidity: Medium
- Alcohol: Medium
- Finish: Medium plus
- Alcohol by volume: 14.3%
Retail price: $32.10 (at the time of review) This wine is now in retail stores across Texas and is no longer available at the winery for purchase. Prices may vary depending on the retailer.
All in all, this is not only a Texas vintage to remember, but a very lovely wine to remember as well. Despite the slight off-odor of sulfur at the first pour in each glass, the wine opens up and offers a rich and rewarding experience. Round and balanced, refined yet big boned, this wine should continue to evolve in the bottle for many years to come, bringing pleasure to wine drinkers across the state, and beyond!
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.