2016 Estate Aglianico - VJB Cellars

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Lush cherry compote, ripe tomato, melted licorice. Strawberry pie, rose petal perfume, foraged berry jam. Tarragon and stewed oregano, stuffed red pepper and sweet herbs. Opulent fruit gushes out of every orifice, spewing endless blackberry preserve, red plum, and prickly pear without restraint. Red tulips distract momentarily from a medley of meaty marinara and fragrant bramble softened by singed brown sugar and vanilla bean. Ripe, succulent, and quite curvy, showcasing bits of dry earthiness beneath a voluptuous exterior. Full bodied and generous with medium tannin & acidity. This 2016 Estate Aglianico by VJB Cellars is an interesting and approachable esoteric red from Sonoma County.

Aglianico is one of the world's first known grape varieties used to make commercially successful wine. Native to Greece, this dark skinned grape eventually made its way to Southern Italy where it is now predominantly grown in the regions of Basilicata and Campania. Its typically a late ripening and fiercely-structured variety, often presenting intense tannin and acidity that require time to mellow. This bottling, crafted by VJB Cellars using Aglianico grown in their estate vineyard in the Eastern Sonoma Valley, is a unique take on this ancient grape. Thanks to the generous California sunshine this wine shows high levels of ripeness which has largely softened what would typically be an extremely structured profile. This iteration is a forward and food friendly comfort wine that, thanks to plenty of savory herbaceousness, would make an ideal pairing for hearty Italian dishes like spaghetti or lasagna.