Aglianico is a black grape grown in the Basilicata and Campania regions of Italy. The vine originated in Greece and was brought to the south of Italy by Greek settlers. The name may be a corruption of Vitis hellenica, Latin for "Greek vine". Another etymology derives the name Aglianico from a corruption of Apulianicum, the Latin adjective, which indicates the whole of southern Italy in the Roman age. In early Roman times, it was the principal grape of the famous Falernian wine, which was the Roman equivalent of a First Growth wine today.
The vine was believed to have first been cultivated in Greece by the Phoceans from an ancestral vine that ampelographers have not yet identified. From Greece it was brought to Italy by settlers to Cumae near modern day Pozzuoli, and from there spread to various points in the regions of Campania and Basilicata. While it is still grown in Italy, the original Greek plantings seem to have disappeared. In Ancient Rome the grape was the principal component of the world's earliest First Growth wine, Falernian. Along with a white grape known as Greco (today grown as Greco di Tufo), the grape was commented on by Pliny the Elder, the maker of some of the highest-ranked wines in Roman times.
Traces of the vine have been found in Molise, Puglia and on the island of Procida near Naples, though it is no longer widely cultivated in those places. The grape was called Ellenico (the Italian word for "Greek") till the 15th century when it got its current name Aglianico.
In Basilicata, Aglianico forms the basis for the region's only DOCG wine, Aglianico del Vulture, and is concentrated around the areas of Matera and Potenza. The most sought-after productions of Aglianico del Vulture come from the vineyards located in and around the extinct volcano Mount Vulture. In Campania the area in and around the village of Taurasi Aglianico's only DOCG wine is produced, also called Taurasi. More Aglianico can be found in the province of Benevento. In Campania, it is also the principal grape of Aglianico del Taburno and Falerno del Massico.
The vine buds early and grows best in dry climates with generous amounts of sunshine. It has good resistance to outbreaks of oidium, but can be very susceptible to peronospera. It also has low resistance to botrytis, but since it is much too tannic to make a worthwhile dessert wine, the presence of this noble rot in the vineyard is more of a viticultural hazard than an advantage.
The grape has a tendency to ripen late, with harvests happening as late as November in some parts of southern Italy. If the grape is picked too early, or with too high yields, the grape can be excessively tannic. The vine seems to thrive in particularly volcanic soils.
Colour: ruby red with orange reflexes
Nose: harmonious and intensive
Taste: dry, full-bodied, warm, harmonious, velbety with a right amount of tannins.
Source (partly): www.wikipedia.org