Aglianico is one of Italy's great wine grapes, producing a wine that is sometimes called the Barolo of the South. In the early 1980s, I bought and enjoyed many Aglianico del Vulture wines from 1970s vintages that drank beautifully well into the mid-1990s. At that time, I paid $3 to $6 for them, and their counterparts in stores today, when they can be found, are still bargains at about $10 to $25. When I saw this Aglianico at Trader Joe's in Ann Arbor, MI for $5.99, I couldn't resist giving it a try.
Beneventano Epicuro is deep and purplish. Smells thick, and it is. An enormous wine with fruit tannins galore. From the deep color and the thick legs of glycerine clinging to the side of the glass, you might mistake this for an Australian Shiraz or a California Zinfandel. But there's clearly no new oak treatment for this wine--the tannins all come from the peels and pips. It's very young and primary in its fruit aromas and flavors--blackberries, black cherries with a spicy tang. Very full bodied with a velvety mouthfeel, but with good acidity and only 13.5 percent alcohol. I think this is a wine worth buying in quantity for drinking slowly over the next few years to see how it ages; my guess is that it would improve for a decade or longer. But it's also too good to miss right now. At $5.99, it's almost as good a value as the Nerello del Bastardo (see my report November 13, 2007) sitting beside it on the shelf for $6.99.