When I purchased this bottle of Mila Vuolo’s Aglianico from Campania, Italy, I had no idea that I’d be introduced to a passionate woman winemaker working organically and biodynamically. All I knew was it was Aglianico and I like Aglianico and it’s hard to find Aglianico and it was under $20.
It took a little sleuthing (sources here and here) to learn that after her father died, in 2000 Mila Vuolo left the telecommunications industry where she worked in Rome as a computer scientist to return to the property her father bought when she was 8– and which historically grew wine grapes. On her 3.5 hectares of vines, she planted Aglianico, Fiano, and Cabernet Sauvignon, expecting to blend the two reds. But her first vintage offered ideal growing conditions for Aglianico, and not so good ones for Cabernet so she abandoned that plan to produce single varietals. Growing organically made sense to her from the beginning; in 2012 she became certified and she is currently adding biodynamic practices.
Passione is in the Colli di Salerno –hills of Salerno. The IGT is located on the Amalfi Coast to the Cilento Coast on the hills near the Mediterranean Sea. The Passione property gets plenty of sun plus cooling nighttime winds from Monti Picentini to maintain freshness and acidity in the warm climate. In addition to vineyards, at Passione Mila Vuolo grows hazelnut and olive trees with wild forests surrounding the vineyard. The clay is rich in limestone and organic materials, and below, more limestone.
Small Bites for A Big Wine (click to enlarge photos above)
- Grilled Steak with Espresso Rub and Potatoes
- Shiitake mushroom blue cheese crostini
- Avocado, Manchego, Pistachio, Pomegranate Salad
- Homemade Ginger cookies
Sue purchased a very high quality steak and gave it an espresso coffee rub. After grilling, it was thinly sliced, and attached by a toothpick to a slice of roasted potato. A bit of rosemary and a sauce finished the presentation.
Mila Vuolo Aglianico Colli di Salerno IGT
I purchased at Grocery Outlet.
We were impressed by the very broad shouldered bottle with a decent punt and weight but not a “BAB” (Big Ass Bottle); not that heavy. In my research I learned that this was a conscious decision toward sustainability.
In addition. the winery uses solar energy from the rooftops and captured rainwater in the winery. Aglianico is drought-resistant and so well-suited for the region’s warm climate and to adapt to climate change. The clay and limestone soils retain water well.
Color: Super dense, ruby, almost like cherry cola, dense and dark, plum with a ruby rim
Aroma: Cherry cola, cherry pipe tobacco, plum, eucalyptus, carnation.
Palate: Tart ripe cherry, very present tannins, dry, the wine coats; Aglianico is a big bold wine. The wine continued to open up over several days.
Pairing: Our menu was a success.
Sue made a mushroom blue cheese crostini that was absolutely perfect with the wine bringing out the complex flavors in both the dish and the wine making us think about pairing the wine with a rich creamy mushroom soup. OMG the blue cheese mushroom tapas were absolutely perfect with the wine because of the earth, the creamy richness and the herbs. Sue is also into texture, and the crunchy crostini is perfect.
Also absolutely perfect was the steak with an espresso rub. Starchy potato with the rich fatty well seasoned steak went so well with the wine. This may not be a small bites or appetizer wine but you could adapt the flavors of this meal to make a more robust menu. The espresso rub in the meat makes it nutty and rich and brings out something special in the wine. The starchy potatoes tames the bold tannins in the wine.
This is not a salad wine, but the richness of the avocado, the pistachios, and the manchego added enough richness that worked with the wine; if a few beets were added, it might do even better. Aglianico wants earthy rich components.
Dip a super spicy ginger cookie into your Aglianico wine glass at the end of the meal for a perfect simple dessert that harmonizes with the wine.
TO TRY: In addition to the ideas above, for Aglianico, think braised meats over creamy polenta or a rich steak topped with mushroom and blue cheese. I can imagine having a blue cheese and mushroom pizza.
For more Aglianico with the Italian Food Wine Travel group of wine writers, check out our 8am twitter chat (#ItalianWFT) and click on the links below for our articles:
- A Movie Set in Acerenza and Tumacë Me Tulë + Azienda Bisceglia Aglianico del Vulture Gudarra 2015 by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Enjoying Aglianico From the Vine with Pizza Montanara by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- From the Vine: Devouring Pizza, Donnachiara Aglianico Wine, and the Movie by Our Good Life
- How A Glorious Past Can Reinvent The Future in Basilicata by Grapevine Adventures
- Mila Vuolo’s Passion for Aglianico in Colli di Salerno IGT by Wine Predator…Gwendolyn Alley
- New Year Nibbles + an Organic PetNat Aglianico by Wineivore
- Organic Aglianico from Ciro Picariello by Avvinare
- Pairing Wine and a Movie: “From The Vine”and 2012 I Favati Cretarossa + Salsicce e Fagioli by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
- Why Aglianico Rules Among Grapes of Southern Italy by My Full Wine Glass
- Why Aren’t you Drinking More Aglianico? by Vino Travels
Where are we going with #ItalianFWT in 2022? We publish on the first Saturday of the month and our plans include:
- January: Kicking off 2022 with a Movie Night + a Look at Aglianico Wines with Camilla M. Mann
- February: Oltrepo Pavese with Susannah Gold
- April: Italy, Home to the Slow Food, Slow Wine Movement with us!
- May: Wines of Orvieto with Jennifer Gentile Martin
- June: Indigenous white wines with Marcia J Hamm
- July: Deep dive into the Langhe with Cindy Lowe Rynning
- August: Non Natives with Martin Redmond
- September: Sardinia with Jill Barth
- October: Valpolicella with Wendy Klik
- November: Chianti with Katarina Andersson or Liz Barrett
- December: Italian wine and cheese with Deanna Kang
- January: Going with Lugana in 2021 #ItalianFWT
- February: What’s different between 3 Organic Montepulciano: Vino Nobile, Molise, d’Abruzzo + Osso Bucco #ItalianFWT
- March: Italy in California: from Aglianico to Zinfandel #ItalianFWT‘
- April: Lazio to Paso Robles: “if you see kay” #ItalianFWT
- May: 2017 Aldo Clerico Barbera D’ Alba with Anchovies, Pizza, Sausage Orecchiette #ItalianFWT
- June: Celebrate Summer with a Nice Cold Dry RED Sparkler: Lambrusco to the Rescue! #ItalianFWT
- July: Ramato, the copper colored “orange” wine of Italy— and Oregon! #ItalianFWT
- August: Italy’s Large, Lovely Lombardia, Home to Lugana and Lambrusco
- September: Verdicchio? Is That A Vegetable? Does It Go With Carbonara? #ItalianFWT
- October: Brunello di Montalcino: Chianti’s Burly Biotype Brother Paired with Vegetarian Stuffed Mushrooms #ItalianFWT
- November: Affordable Riva Leone Barbaresco Meets Bolognese #ItalianFWT
- December: Barolo in His Blood: Aldo Clerico, Bagna Cauda, and Duck #ItalianFWT
- 3 Wines from Sicily’s Etna Volcano Paired with Pork Sugo #WinePW
- Made in Clay From Near and Far: Italy’s Organic Visintini Amphora Friulano Paired with Römertopf Roasted Chicken #WinePW
- Sparkling Wine Secrets: Seven Grapes, Seven Styles from Italy With Finger Foods
- In Memoriam: Lorenzo Corino and His Beyond Biodynamic Nebbiolo
To learn more about Italian wine with food pairings, simply search for #ItalianFWT in the upper right hand corner and each month going back five years will appear!
Happy New Year!
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