Weekly Wino: February 16th
I've heard about this wine for quite some time. Although Marisa Cuomo may be more famous for her treatment of falanghina (which I have yet to try), I had a mean piece of meat waiting for me at dinner, so Furore Rosso it was. This is a blend of aglianico and piedirosso (piedirosso means "red feet," and this grape is locally called per'e'palummo, or dove's feet) and it carries the Costa d'Amalfi D.O.C. **
I must admit that upon trying Furore Rosso, I was surprised by the lack of tannins that I would normally expect from an aglianico-based wine. The fact that this wine was a young'n' (2005) had me waiting for the typical youthful aglianico tongue-lashing. Instead, I found a nose full of bright cherries, a bit of spice, and an ever-so-soft hint of tannins and youthful acidity.
There was a very tempting bowl of very dark, very fried eggplant on the table. I had my doubts about such a pairing, but this wine was perfect. So good that it also made another helping find its way into my mouth, followed by my thighs, but the trip was well funded by my pure excitement of this surprising symbiosis.
It wasn't until I went in search of the producer's website for a link that I found out why the profile spoke more of piedirosso than aglianico. Its proportions are 70% the former and 30% the latter. HA! My mouth didn't lie to me after all. I am, by now, used to the piedirossos of Ischia and Campania just a bit more north and the beautiful Costiera Amalfitana. As a family, this grape does carry a trademark (cherries! raspberries! pepper! spritz and sass!). Being mixed with just a bit of aglianico (instead of the other way around) it turned into a more a mature expression of itself, taking tannins from the aglianico, but never losing its inner child.
Marisa Cuomo produces a mere 4000 cases per year and the vineyards tenaciously cling to steep hillsides that enjoy a spectacular view of the sea (click here to enjoy the view yourselves). This wine is available in limited quantities in America and should cost around $20. Go find it, fry up some eggplant, and let the wine work its magic.
**Costa d'Amalfi D.O.C. Rosso allows a minimum of 40% piedirosso and a maximum of 60% aglianico and/or sciascinoso. There is a further allowance of "other" red grapes at a maximum of 40%.