Wine by Pete Stewart
Over the last couple of weeks in this column, I’ve been recommending Barolos and Barbarescos from Piemonte, and Chiantis and Brunellos from Tuscany. I couldn’t possibly move away from Italy without mentioning a decent Amarone from Veneto, or my favourite Aglianicos from Campania in the south.
Amarone della Valpolicella tends to be a blend of Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella, and is made in a big rich style using grapes that have been partially dried in the sun to concentrate the flavours and boost the alcohol. It’s also a go-to wine if you’re buying for a connoisseur as it is known as a good, and expensive treat. You’ll also find Recioto della Valpolicella (a sweeter version) and Valpolicella Ripasso which is a lighter and more affordable wine from the same producers.
Amarone Classico Costasera Masi 2012 (Majestic, £37). This is as traditional as they come with the winemaking knowledge being passed down the generations of the Boscaini family. It’s a big, lush wine with a long, dry finish and it’s the perfect partner to a hearty rabbit stew. If you have any left, try a wee glass with the harder cheeses on the cheeseboard. It works particularly well with parmesan.
Aglianico is the most noble red grape grown in Campania, where it is responsible for the DOCG wine, Taurasi. You’ll also find good examples from Basilicata labelled as Aglianico del Vulture. Like all the best Italian red grapes, it makes a full bodied wine with good tannins and a decent acidity in the glass. The wines are very food-friendly especially when partnered with lamb, or a warming cassoulet.
Terredora di Paolo Aglianico IGT 2016 (Waitrose, £12.99). This is a great example of the style, and it’s half the price that you’d expect to pay for a Taurasi. The volcanic soil of the area adds minerality and a certain gravitas to the wine. Try this with a lamb ragu, and you’ll be immediately transported to the Amalfi Coast…and all for just £12.99. Saluti!