Even though I lived in Campania for nearly four and a half years, I didn't get to drink a ton of Taurasi. It was relatively expensive and I lived a pauper-ish existence. I'm sure that I've had more than even your average Northern Italian, but still, I am far from an expert. I did drink lots of Aglianico (Sannio DOC, Irpinia DOC, Taburno DOC, many IGTs) and Piedirosso though, but we'll get to that soon.
Here's what my DoBianchi said about the origins of the name Taurasi:
Btw, the toponym Taurasi is believed to be derived from the pre-Roman (probably Etruscan) taur[o] meaning mountain. One of the earliest documents mentioning the ancient village of Taurasi dates back to the 14th-century and there is also a mention inscribed in the sarcophagus of Scipio Barbatus (died 280 B.C.E.). The village sits above the valley of the Calore river at 398 meters a.s.l., hence the name.
That's so hot.
Text below translated from: Del Canuto, Francesco et al., Il vino italiano, panorama vitivinicolo attraverso le denominazioni di origine, Associazione Italiana Sommeliers (Bertani & C.), Milano, 2010 (2002), fourth edition.
DOCG recognized 3/11/93
Production Zone: including the townships of (only the the hilly areas with adequate sun exposure, and with the absolute exclusion of humid valley floors and shaded portions of land) Bonito, Castelfranci, Castelvetere sul Calore, Fontanarosa, Lapio, Luogosano, Mirabella Eclano, Montefalcione, Montemarano, Montemiletto, Paternopoli, Pietradefusi, Sant'Angelo all'Esca, San Mango sul Calore, Taurasi, Torre le Nocelle and Venticano, all in the province of Avellino.
Yield: Max 10 tons per hectare
Grape Variety: Aglianico**, min 85% [It does not list others permitted for the balance, but with a little research I've found that any non-aromatic red variety "permitted and recommended by the province of Avellino" is allowed. I imagine that there is Piedirosso, Barbera, maybe some Sciascinoso and probably others, but it can be 100% Aglianico.]
Minimum alcohol: 12%
Required Aging: minimum 37 months
Aging potential: on average 8-10 years***
Other types: Reserve--with a minimum alcohol content of 12.5% and required aging of 49 months
Excellent wine production in this area is a result of the perfect balance between climate, grape variety, and volcanic soil. Low yields and high-density planting along with attention in the vineyards and use of barrel aging guarantee a high-quality product. Most importantly, there are some emergent winemakers who, with a great deal of professionalism, are exploiting the great potential of Aglianico in this appellation.
The color of Taurasi, when released, is an intense garnet with a nose rich in red fruit preserves, black pepper, liquorice, minerality, and tobacco. Very structured with a long finish, this wine is dry and balanced with pronounced tannins. Taurasi goes well with grilled meats and roasts as along with wild game. It is particularly suited for wild boar and aged cheeses.
In my next post I will translate the entry for aglianico from volume 2A of this series. This book lists all of the grape varieties of Italy alphabetically, with an informative entry on each. Woohoo!
**PLEASE read DoBianchi's scholarly post on the origins of the name "aglianico." Very interesting stuff. That's my man!
***I know that many a Taurasi out there can gracefully age for much longer. I believe that the authors of this book are referring to an average example of the wine and its very average potential. I am but a translator.