Tasting California Wines - Old 44 Cellars, 2018 Aglianico

Tasting California Wines - Old 44 Cellars, 2018 Aglianico

Fri, 07/02/2021 - 18:32 -- johnk

Old 44 Cellars 2018 Aglianico Estate Grown – Estate Grown – 80% Aglianico – 20% Grenache

Don’t you just love it when you find a delightful gem of a wine that is kind of hidden away? I visited with the Nick winemaker at Old 44 Cellars at a wine event that took place in Redding, CA just before the Pandemic broke out. I enjoyed the visit and his invite to come visit him. Well, we did an outdoor private tasting together not that long ago, about a year and a half from our first meeting. One of the wines, actually several bottles, that I brought home with me was Nick’s estate Aglianico blend. This is a wine is a blend of Estate Aglianico and Grenache that provides a delightful glass of wine to those that have obtained it.

Grenache in this blend provides some white pepper aroma followed with red fruit flavors. Grenache is known for its flavors of strawberry and raspberry with spicy notes. Some Grenache wines can develop complex flavors of blackcurrants, black olives, coffee, leather and tar. The grape produces wines that are medium to full-bodied. Tannin and acidity are low and makes it a great fit as a blend. Although Grenache is a high-quality grape, often you will find it blended with other varieties, such as Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault. This is because it is very complimentary within a blend, as it adds body and fruitiness without adding tannin or acidity, which are both naturally low in Grenache.

As we focus on the Aglianico (ahl-YANN-ee-co), this grape is concentrated and complex. Aromas of black fruits, violets, herbs, leather, and smokey notes are followed by flavors of blackberries, prunes, coffee, and chocolate. So Aglianico grapes produce full-bodied wines, high in tannin and acidity. As a varietal, Aglianico wines require 3 to 5 years to soften its tannic structure to be enjoyed and improve over the years. Aglianico is a high-quality grape capable of making world class wine and is one of Italy’s best kept secrets and has become a little easier to find growing in California. Aglianico is one of southern Italy’s most important grape varieties and is principally grown in the volcanic. Just maybe this why Old 44 Cellars Estate 2018 Aglianico is so delightful, as the vineyard is in Shasta County is situated in view of both Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen and the region is know for its red earth and volcanic rock.

As Aglianico is a late ripening grape it can develop great concentration of fruit flavors. Its thick skin results high tannin levels which combined with high acidity can make these powerfully structured wines very harsh in youth. However, Aglianico wines made for aging and as the wine matures it develops remarkable complexity and balance. Aromas of black fruits, violets, herbs, leather, and smoky notes are followed on the palate by flavors of prunes, blackberries, coffee, chocolate and even tar.
Old 44 Cellars winemaker Nick, has taken his Estate Aglianico and blended it with Grenache and the blend is delightful. In fact, this 2018 Old 44 Cellars Shasta County Aglianico took a Gold at a recent San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, and you can find your bottle at the winery available for about $28.00 and well-worth the money.