Grifalco Aglianico del Vulture Gricos 2019 Review

The turn of the millennium marked a lot of changes for the Italian wine industry.

Before the year 2000, many producers focused on quantity ahead of quality. This was not true of all producers, of course. However, Italy’s general approach to wine seemed to be to make as much as possible, which ironically led to France establishing itself as the world’s leading wine producer. It turned out that high quality was more important than many anticipated, with several Italian wines enduring periods of low popularity and critical acclaim thanks to this approach.

Producers refocused at the turn of the century.

Many pre-existing producers started to create for quality again, with the Italian wine industry generally marking this shift with an increased focus on quality as well. As importantly, a new generation of Italian winemakers came into the fold, many of whom started their own companies to produce stunning Italian wines that have helped the country to climb to the top of the mountain in terms of production, sales, and quality.

The Grifalco Winery is one such company.

In this article, we’re going to dive into the history of the company before examining one of the superb wines that have helped it to build a strong reputation in a very short time.

The History

It was 2004 and a couple named Fabrizio and Cecilia Piccin had an idea. Together, they’d found a perfect territory that they believed would be ideal for the creation of wines. Located on the slopes of Mount Vulture, this wonderful territory offered volcanic soil and the perfect conditions for growing the Aglianico grape, which is native to the Basilicata region and is tough enough to handle the often-difficult conditions of the mountain.

The couple presented the idea to their sons, Andrea and Lorenzo, he chose to join them in a venture that would change all of their lives.

This is the basic story of how the Piccin family started their Italian wine company.

But their history in wine stretches back much further.

Fabrizio and Cecilia had spent the previous 20 years working in Tuscany, helping winemakers develop the Montepulciano grape for use in a wide variety of wines. Those 20 years gave them invaluable experience, both in terms of taking care of vineyards and in discovering and unleashing the potential of the grapes they worked with. Armed with this experience, they switched their attention to the ancient Aglianico grape, which had fallen into near-extinction despite having a history that dated back to the ancient Greeks.

The family made the decision to cultivate this rare grape exclusively. In doing so, they immediately became one of the innovators that would help the grape return to prominence in the 21st century. From its main vineyard on Mount Vulture, the company expanded to begin growing the grape in other territories, including Rapolla, Maschito, and Venosa.

Today, Fabrizio and Cecilia no longer take an active role in running the company. That task is left to their two sons, Andrea and Lorenzo, who combine their skills to run a wine company that is growing in strength every year. Lorenzo’s expertise lies in the vine, as he takes care of the company’s oenological and agronomic management. Andrea handles the company management, playing his biggest role in marketing and ensuring that the company’s wines get to where they need to go.

By combining their strengths, the brothers manage to take care of very different vineyards, each of which offers its own terroir and growing conditions. It’s this variance that may be the secret to the company’s success. Though it focuses on a single type of grape, the different vineyards that Grifalco operates allow the company to create a variety of wines that explore the true depth of the ancient grape they are dedicated to.

In addition to showing the greatest of respect to the grape they have dedicated themselves to, the family also recognises the importance and strength of their land. Quality and respect for the terroir are cornerstones of Grifalco, which has led to the company focusing on sustainable growing practices that protect the local environment and the many natural elements that make it the perfect location for them to produce their wines.

It’s this dedication to sustainability that has led to all of the company’s wines carrying the organic certification, meaning you don’t have to worry about any man-made chemicals in a Grifalco wine. The care and attention the company places into its grapes is reflected in both the land and its products, with the latter quickly becoming some of the most desired in Italy.

Now the caretakers of over 16 hectares of vineyards, Grifalco produces approximately 80,000 bottles of wine per year. But perhaps none are quite as important as the Grifalco Aglianico del Vulture Gricos 2019.

The Review

Fresh and fruity, the Grifalco Aglianico del Vulture Gricos 2019 is a gorgeous wine that is ideal for introducing others into the world of Italian wine. With an ageing potential of between 10 and 15 years, the wine is best served at room temperature after an hour of decanting. That decanting period will give you the chance to enjoy its gorgeous ruby red colouring, which is captivating before you even begin the deeper sensory experience of smelling and tasting the wine.

Once poured and brought to the nose, the wine presents an aroma that bounced between fruity scents of small berries and the balsamic notes that can only come when a wine has benefitted from the strong minerality of volcanic soil. Slight spicy notes add to the package, hinting at some hidden complexity that makes the wine even more appealing.

The taste reveals even more fruitiness, with unripe blackberries coming to the fore as you allow the wine to explore your palate. While the wine has a strong alcoholic component, it is tempered by fruity and balsamic notes. The spiciness makes itself known in the aftertaste, which is alluring and inviting in equal measure.

Best served with meats, cheese, and pork, this wonderful wine receives a 91/100 rating from Xtrawine. It’s available in our store today for less than €13.


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