Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Witch of Benevento Strikes

~ The Witches of Benevento - Strega! ~

Like Tuscany has Sangiovese, Piedmont has Nebbiolo, and Umbria has Sagrantino, Aglianico rises to heights in Campania.   Outside Naples, it is the backbone of Taurasi, a DOCG wine that has often been called the "Barolo of the South".  

Campania is a province proud and rich with history.  Home to Naples, Vesuvius, pizza and of course, the Aglianico grape, it's also home to folklore of witchcraft.  Nowhere is this more prevalent than Benevento, home to the famous Strega liquor and to Carraia, the subject wine of today's post. 

Knowing Campania's prowess with Aglianico, I was intrigued when I found the 2011 Carraia Aglianico at a local shop for under $10.  That intrigue eventually turned to despair as it seems the Benevento witches had their way with this one. 

The 2011 is a medium to light violet in the glass. Comprised from 100% Aglianico, this clearly doesn't live up to the reputation of the grape.  This isn't Taurasi by any stretch; nay, it doesn't reach the heights of Aglianico del Vulture, a similar wine from Basilicata.  The 2011 Carraia has simple aromas of berry, spicy vanilla and wood.  On the palate, it's a simple wine with moderate berry flavors and slight herbal notes.  It's light to medium bodied with little structure and very little substance from acids or tannins. Simple, uninteresting and equally as uninspiring.  There's nothing off putting about the wine, but there simply isn't any reason to seek this out as opposed to many other similarly priced bottlings from dozens of better producers.  81 points.  About $10.

~ Aglianico from Benevento ~

We made a typical southern pasta with broccoli rabe and crumbled sausage tossed with pecorino but even that couldn't elevate this wine. In fact, it may have been it's only saving grace.  They can't all be winners.... 

~ Radiatori with Broccoli Rabe & Sausage ~
Cin Cin


  1. This is one of my favorite italian meal! So good! :) You should post a recipe of this John, so many people never heard of it and it's simply delicious.. I personally use sausages that are seasonned with fennel and crushed chili and I even add some in the oil while cooking it, plus garlic, do you? Adds more grip!

  2. Of course Raphael! You have it nailed to a T. I will write up this recipe soon. Thanks!

  3. John: "despair. . .nothing off putting. . ." !!!!