Text below translated from: Del Canuto, Francesco et al., Il vino italiano, vitigni, enografia, e grastronomia regionale, Associazione Italiana Sommeliers (Bertani & C.), Milano, 2010 (2002), fourth edition.
Alternative names: Aglianicone, Guanico, Gesualdo, Uva Aglianica, Ellenico, Uva Nera
Clones: Femmina, Mascolino, San Severino, Zerpuloso
Aglianico is relatively homogenous but two basic families exist, one grown in the Taurasi area and the other grown in the area of Aglianico del Vulture. [Pronounced VOOL'-too-ray]
Historical notes: this grape variety originated in Magna Grecia, where it was already widely planted. The name is a corruption of ellenikon in Hellenic, which became Aglianico.**[!]
Cultivation Zone: Basilicata, Campania; Some is found in Apulia and Molise as well.
Characteristics: The leaf is smooth with 5 lobes that are opaque and dark green. The bunches are medium-sized, compact, cylindrical and coned. The grapes are round with thick skin. They have an intense blue color and a thick coating of bloom.***
Ripening: late, October 15th-November 10th
Productivity: abundant and consistent
Aglianico produces wine with a ruby color with hints of garnet. With age, it tends toward brick red. The nose is intense with pronounced aromas of cherry preserves, plums, almonds, violets, spices, and suede. The flavor is rich and tannic, given to good structure and a very long finish.
**If you missed it before, here's Jeremy P's research on the real origins of the grape name. Debunking happening daily over at DoBianchi!
***Bloom (pruina in Italian, in case you were curious) is the powdery substance on the skin of a grape. It contains protective waxes, bacteria, and yeast cells that are native to the vineyard. This substance is also found on the skin of blueberries.