Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Duchman Aglianico

Most of the wines I drink come from California, which is by design.  California is where I live and I like to taste the terroir of my home in the wines I drink.  I'm certainly not opposed to trying wines from other places, though - especially when the place is one near to my heart.

I'm from Texas.  I've been transplanted in Southern California for some time now.  It was so long ago when I lived in the Lone Star State, the burgeoning wine industry there is a stranger to me.  I drank plenty of Texas beer in my days as a card-carryin’ Texan - plenty - but I had never tried a Texas wine, until recently.

The Duchman Family Winery - located just a bit west of Austin - was kind enough to provide me with samples of two of their wines made from Italian grape varieties - Aglianico and Dolcetto.  On today's Now And Zin Wine Blog, I'll tell you about the Aglianico.

The Aglianico grape thrives in dry places with plenty of sunshine.  Central Texas gets a check mark on both counts.  The grapes generally make a full-bodied, acidic wine with plenty of tannic structure.

The Mandola Aglianico - the winery has recently been re-branded as Duchman Family Vineyards- is labeled as "Texas wine,” and the grapes are from the Reddy Vineyards in the Texas High Plains AVA.  Bottled in June of 2009, this wine was fermented in stainless steel and aged ten months in American oak.  The alcohol level is listed as 14.5% abv in the winery’s literature, but the label shows 12.5% abv.  I believe I’d go with the lower figure.  Total production of the Mandola Aglianico was only 150 cases.

I’m happy that the first Texas wine I taste is one with a taste as big as the state itself.

Right up front, the nose gives big aromas of red fruit - red plums and raspberry seem to dominate.  There’s more red fruit on the palate with an earthy aspect that increases the longer the wine has been decanted.  By the second night after opening the bottle, it was downright dark and earthy.  The flavor of spices did not diminish, though.  If anything, the spiciness increased a bit with time.

This wine has the tannins the grape is known for, and the acidity to allow it to match with a variety of foods.  Snacking with a handful of almonds, a piece of brittle and a chunk of dark chocolate, all three seemed to fit well in the scheme of the Aglianico.  This wine is really made for something a little more substantial.  Try it with an Italian sausage or lasagna.

The thing I was really looking for with this Texas Aglianico was the feeling of the Lone Star state’s terroir, and I think I found it.  Even though Aglianico wines tend to be somewhat “rustic” anyway, this one has a deeper, darker feeling than I was expecting.  To call it “brooding” would not be an overstatement.  To call it “wonderful” just about hits the nail on the head.  I think - just this once - a “yee-haw” might even be called for.

I couldn't resist sharing this image from the Duchman website.  Boots

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