Like many of Italy's wine regions, Campania's Taurasi DOCG has come under Greek and Roman influence, its origins dating back as far as 800 BC. It is located 31 miles (50km) north-east of Naples, where the vineyards sit among the hills of Avellino and where the Aglianico (from the Greek Ellenico) grape thrives. This red grape’s success is largely due to the terroir and topography of the Taurasi zone: its vineyards are at an elevation of at least 1312ft (400m) above sea level, where the best sites are found (Castelfranci, Jampenne, Radici and Torre). There are also myriad soils including calcareous marls, volcanic deposits and limestone; the latter contributes a tannic quality to the wines, while the volcanic soil adds a certain smokiness.
This DOCG’s Aglianico wines are famed for their larger-than-life personalities and full-bodied character. Like Aglianico del Vulture in Basilicata, Taurasi wines are considered the ‘Barolo of the south' and have a great ability to age (some can reach 20 years). Despite their density, high levels of extract and tannin, they retain good linearity and finesse. This grape has a flair for giving wines flavours of raspberries, plums and dark cherries, as well as a smoky nuance evocative of a lit cigar, freshly ground coffee and new leather. As the wines mature, they can take on earthy, forest-floor and gamey notes. Although they can be drunk young, a little patience will smooth out the rough edges.
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