The verdict on Aglianico, the grape variety, which gives the austere, majestic, and potent red wines of the central part of the Italian south, Campania and Basilicata, could not be clearer or less ambiguous: an outstanding grape, along with Nebbiolo and Sangiovese Italy’s greatest. The true homeland of great Aglianico, however, is the province of Avellino, in the Taurasi appellation to be precise, where the cool climate and very long growing season give wines of a majestic power, intensity, concentration, and longevity which make them, when properly made, some of the world’s greats.
Taurasi, up until recently, like other parts of Italy, was dominated by large houses which purchased the grapes of the many small holders who cultivated the grapes, but that too has changed, and the tendency of the part of small and medium-sized proprietors is now to bottle their own wines. That is the case with Antonio Caggiano who, after touring the world to satisfy his passion for photography (the walls of his offices and tasting room are papered with the photos of that period of his life), began working with an old vineyard which belonged to his family.
Success built on success, holdings now amount to 75 acres and, most importantly, the outstanding quality of the wines has won them an honored place in quality markets all over the world. The house cultivates all of the major varieties of his province, Aglianico to be sure but also Fiano, Greco and, more recently Falanghina in addition, and, thanks as well to the highly expert counsels of oenologist Luigi Moio, there is not a weak sister in the bunch. Fiagre is an innovative blend of Fiano and Greco, Bechar and Devon the excellent examples of, respectively, Fiano and Greco. But it is Taurasi which made it all happen, and the Macchia dei Goti offering is regularly one of southern Italy’s most impressive wines.