Prima Materia Aglianico 2014
Buttitta says the Aglianico grapes were planted in 2003 and have evolved into his signature variety, along with Barbera and Sangiovese. The grapes were grown in soil laced with deposits from Mt. Konocti's past volcanic eruptions. Does that make the Kelsey Bench the Sicily of California?
The 2014 Aglianico vineyard is interplanted with 7% Montepulciano grapes. The wine was vinified and aged on its lees in Hungarian oak, 225-liter vats that are anywhere from two to ten years old. Alcohol tips 14.3% abv, while the wine retails for $38.
This wine is quite dark in the glass. A whiff of nail polish remover greeted me when I opened the bottle, but after sitting a bit, the more expected aromas of dark fruit, white pepper, spice and trampled leaves overtook the problematic initial whiff. The alcohol came on strong in the sip, and the tannins need time to smooth out. There is definitely an Old World feel to the wine, and I am reminded of other excellent Aglianicos I have had from Santa Barbara County, Texas and, oh yeah, southern Italy. I'd love to try it in ten years, when aging will have softened its rustic edges.