The Fiera Enologica di Taurasi just completed its 13 edition yesterday in the sleepy centro storico of Taurasi in the province of Avellino. A wine fair, a festival...5 nights of wine fanfare for the eno-gastronomical enthusiast. Insomma, in short, a fair with plenty to offer for everyone. After looking at the rich program of tastings, concerts, and laboratories, I decided to focus my attention on the first two evenings and two guided wine tastings; MondoAglianico e Formaggi di Altura and La magnifica annata, retrospettiva Taurasi 1999.
Reservations necessary...the program said. So I made mine, and found my seat in the front row in the first floor of Tauras's medieval castle.
Saturday night - MondoAglianico e Formaggi di Altura...A tasting designed to give us a mini immersion into the world of Aglianico, my first love. Three territories and two vintages for a total of six wines were on the ticket. But first? First we needed to understand the territory, of course. And the man to explain it to our group of 40 or so participants was winemaker Maurizio De Simone. Short and sweet...
Aglianico del Vulture from the Basilicata region. A volcanic soil which is not hurting for water. Wines produced here, in respect to the other territories, are smoother, a little sweeter...ready sooner.
Aglianico del Taburno in the Benevento province of Campania. Rocky terrain in an area often subject to heavy rain storms. Result? Wines that are austere, complex and obvious notes of minerality.
Taurasi. This territory us dry producing a low yield on the vine. Grapes are concentrated with tannins that are aggressive.
And with that brief but informative intro, we began our tasting with three wines vintage year 2007. A dry year, Slow Wine's Oto Tortorella shared.
Tortorella continued as he and journalist Pasquale Carlo lead us through the tasting...
Aglianico del Vulture, Nocte 2007 Terra dei Re
Aglianico del Taburno DOC 2007 Il Poggio
Taurasi DOCG Poliphemo 2007 Luigi Tecce
Each wine a representative of their territory reemphasizing De Simone's notes from beginning of the evening, particularly the minerality noted in the Aglianico of Taburno....the mature, concentrated fruit in Tecce's Taurasi..
Next, three wines from 2004, recorded as a normal year weather wise, when the grapes arrived to the winery in tip top condition.
Taurasi DOCG Bosco Faiano2004 I Capitani
Aglianico del Vulture DOC 2004 Eleano
Aglianico del Taburno DOC Bue Apis 2004 Cantina del Taburno
A trip with an older vintage demonstrating Aglianico's ability to age and age well. From a vibrant Taurasi to a bellisimo Bue Apis from Taburno, this tasting completed its mission on a positive note. But we weren't really finished. The organizers, along with Gaetano Palumbo, Slow Food Taburno and Paride Leone fiduciario Slow Food Vulture, thought it might be interesting to try cheeses from the territories featured. A pecorino cheese from Taburno, aged 17 months. Another pecorino from Vulture, aged for 13, and a grande caciocavallo podolicco from Montella aged for 24 plus months.
This way we experimented a little, focusing on the characteristics of each cheese, then mixed and matched it up with the wine still resting and evolving in our glasses. I especially enjoyed the Taurasis with the pecorino from Taburno, for example...but that's another story.
The tasting was over and time to take a quick stroll through the very crowded streets of this not so sleepy centro storico in Taurasi.
And time to prepare myself for the next evening's tasting...a horizontal tasting of Taurasi vintage year 1999 from 8 top producers...