2017 Viticoltori De Conciliis, Aglianico “Donnaluna” Paestum, Campania, Italy.
The well crafted, ripely pure and slightly lighter bodied artisan styled Donnaluna Aglianico by the noted jazz fan Bruno De Conciliis at the De Conciliis Estate, which is located in the beautiful and remote Paestum near Cilento at high elevation in the coastal zone of Campania region, making for a wine that shows off the more elegant side of this ancient and usually gritty tannic varietal. Bringing a medium bodied palate of classic dusty/meaty dry Aglianico flavors, the 2017 De Conclilis Donnaluna reveals black cherry, plum, brambly raspberry and raw mulberry fruits, briar spiciness, hints of iron, dried wild flowers, a touch of cedar and anise, all of which reminds you why this grape is often called the Nebbiolo (Barolo) of the South and why this Donnaluna offering is so popular, it delivers a lot for the money, especially in a vintage as detailed as this. This dark garnet, almost opaque with a touch of brick on the edge, wine opens nicely and quickly resolves its tannin and leathery earthiness in the glass to allow the core of dark berry fruit to stand out and the texture comes across as polished, smooth and pleasing with a finish that lingers with an echo of the nose and a touch of kirsch as well as tangy burst of orange rind. Paired with a delicious Lasagna and winter salad, the 2017 De Conciliis Donnaluna Aglianico behaved remarkably well bring out the best in the wine and the food with a certain rustic charm that is hard to resist, this producer always seems to hit the spot, spotlighting the quality of this Mediterranean kissed region.

De Conciliis, founded in 1996, specializes, in what the winery calls, fruit-forward full flavored wines, mostly made from Aglianico, which, in the warm climate of the Cilento DOC, gives wines that are somewhat more accessible. The Donnaluna is more of a basic entry level wine, performing its duty well as a gateway to the lineup here, but the De Concilis signature red is their 100% Aglianico ‘Naima’ (named for the John Coltrane tune) which is powerful and cellar worthy bottling. Fermented in stainless steel and aged a year, with 50% in stainless and 50% in used large oak casks to promote a fresh and transparent profile. The winery has gone down the organic method for many years and looks to be all biodynamic in the near future, and De Concilis has been energy self-sufficient since 2007, thanks to solar panels. In addition, the winery notes, it is implementing more intensive water recycling methods, that is important with the arid climate here making water a scarcity to be used with restraint. The terroir here is dominated by its soils, with a combination of sandstone, soft marls, and sandy shales and calcareous clay that brings out the depth of fruit, especially in this wine. The name “Donnaluna” again is a nod to a jazz theme, and is a play on the Charlie Parker / Miles Davis bebop jazz standard “Donna Lee”, and for their unique sparkling Alianico, De Conciliis uses the Selim name, that being Miles (as in Miles Davis) spelled backwards. De Conciliis also does a gorgeous set of white wines which should not be overlooked with a brilliant set of Falanghina(s) and Fiano(s) that are just as impressive as their Aglianico(s).
($25 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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