We received the product for review and all opinions are our own.
Ahl-YAH-nee-ko, an interesting grape name for sure, and definitely not a grape variety to “yawn” about. Aglianico is typically powerful, tannic, and packed with flavor, and to be frank, it is a grape variety well suited for the Texas wine industry. There are a few wineries in the state producing Aglianico, but I am surprised there aren’t more already working with it. Just like Tempranillo and Tannat, it is a grape that thrives in our sizzling Texas summers and dry conditions. Fully ripe, it expresses itself well, and seems to age gracefully too.
Eden Hill Vineyard in Celina, Texas is producing some really high quality wines these days. In fact some of them just won medals at the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition. One of those winners, a gold medal winner in fact, happens to be the wine up for review this week, the 2014 Eden Hill Vineyard Aglianico. This was a slightly different, and expressive review, as I shared the bottle with a secret group of Texas wine aficionados who also have educated palates as well, and we discussed the wine as a group. Here is what we came up with.
Once the cork is popped, the wine pours a light to medium garnet into the glass. The nose at first was quite medicinal, with a ton of black licorice and not a lot of fruit. The palate was the same, and to be honest it was a pinch unpleasant at first sip. Once it began to open up (we did decant the wine as well), it began to show its true self. A nose of blackberries, black cherries, black licorice, and Texas dirt. The palate confirms the nose almost exactly, with the addition of a hint of lavender. The tannins are gritty and powerful, rendering the wine almost too much to drink on its own right now, but with a heavy meal, such as a fatty steak and potato, this bad boy should be a stunning compliment.
- Eden Hill Vineyard Aglianico, Winemaker’s Reserve, 2014 vintage
- Winemaker: Chris Hornbaker
- Appellation: Texas High Plains AVA, Oswald Vineyard
- Grape Varieties: 100% Aglianico
- Barrels: 12 months in 50% new French oak barrels
- Clarity/brightness: Clear/bright, with no detectable flaws, and no evidence of gas or sediment
- Tannins: Very high
- Acidity: Medium
- Alcohol: High
- Finish: Long
- Alcohol by volume: 14.4%
- Cases produced: 190
- Retail price: $35.00 per bottle at the time of review
This youthful wine is showing very well right now, with a ton of potential for long term aging. It has not only taken gold in San Francisco in 2016, but it was also the 2015 Jefferson Cup Sweepstakes winner for red varietal wine, and was the 2015 Texas Reserve Class Champion at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Wine Competition. This Texas Aglianico is clean and very well made. As I stated earlier though, I personally feel this wine is a bit young to be consumed at its best right now, as the tannins are super gritty, and the alcohol stands out a bit. If you pick a few bottles up and lay them down for a year or two, this baby is going to be a stunner for sure! If you insist on cracking a bottle open right now, it is best served with a hearty meal.
Sip, savor, and enjoy my fellow aficionados.