Friday, October 21, 2011

Comparative review: $$ Di Majo Norante Contado Aglianico, Molise, Campomarino, Italy, *** 2003 and **+ 2005

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Contado Aglianico.

By way of background, opening thoughts: Aglianico is a southern Italian red grape that is certainly absent from the vocabulary of most new world red wine drinkers. It typically produces an extracted, inky, sometimes tannic red wine.  Here, with Contado, we have a popular producer focusing on this varietal.  Also, for this case, we are doing a vertical tasting, contrasting the 2003 vintage, now eight years from vintage date, in a head-to-head comparison with the 2005 vintage, now six years from vintage date.  Guess which one has been in the wine cellar, and which was just secured from the retailer:


You can see a dramatic difference in the extract level of the older vintage versus the slightly younger vintage:


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Original tasting and review, 2003 vintage : This is Di Majo Norante Contado Aglianico, Molise, Campomarino, Italy, 2003, finished at 13.5% alcohol.

In the glass: Deep magenta, with brick at the edges, opaque from about a half inch in.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows bright purple berries, with brambly tannins around the edges.  From the aroma, seems like this will be taut with black fruit and some noticeable oak.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact a soft and deep blackberry fruit, with dried leaf edges and some old world grip.  The finish is bright with acid, but balanced with dark, mature fruit.  Seems ready for drinking with no additional age warranted.

In summary: Overall, rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale. Distinctive character.
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Original tasting and review, 2005 vintage : Di Majo Norante Contado Aglianico, Molise, Campomarino, Italy, 2005, also finished at 13.5% alcohol.

In the glass: Deep magenta, with an overtone of brick at the edge, opaque from about a half inch in.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows sweet, slightly vegetable deep red fruit.  From the aroma, seems like this will be soft and perhaps overly aged.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact ripe, deep blackberries, almost blousy in style, fully mature.  Simple, full, with surprisingly clean finish.

In summary: Overall, rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for what I believe would have been a stronger showing when younger in age.
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Comparative findings:  The results of this comparative tasting, which showed the 2003 at a higher rating than the 2005, were, I believe, a function of vintage differences.  I believe each of these wines were likely more impressive earlier in their lives.  Certainly, if  acquiring this wine for the future, I would target consumption within about four years of vintage date.

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