An Aglianico del Vulture that blew me away: Musto Carmelitano

Above: Elisabetta Musto Carmelitano is making some of the best Aglianico del Vulture wine that I’ve ever tasted.

Every once in a while you come across a wine that just makes you stop in your tracks. Stop the world and let me off: I need to spend some time with this wine, you say to yourself.

That’s what happened to me when I first tasted the wines of Musto Carmelitano a few months ago in Los Angeles.

The importer had been hounding me about natural this and natural that, biodynamic this and biodynamic that. But when I tasted the wine I remembered some sage advice that a sommelier once shared with me: don’t trust the story, trust the wine.

This wine is THAT good. Who cares what made it that wine?

In our quest to create the largest selection of Aglianico del Vulture at Sotto in Los Angeles (where I curate the wine list), this is just one of the myriad wines that have come across our tasting table (there are more available in the U.S. than you would imagine). And it lept to the top of our list…


Above: Grapes harvested by Elisabetta this week in Vulture, image shared with me by the importer, former Italian pro baseball leaguer Justin Gallen.

When Tracie P tasted the wine for the first time — the Pian del Moro, from Elisabetta family’s oldest vineyards — her reaction was “wow, there’s a lot going on in that wine.”

Dark red and black fruit, dark black earth, and an resilient “nervy” acidity that holds the wine in balance.

Of all the Aglianico del Vulture I’ve tasted lately — and I’ve tasted a lot in the wake of our visit to Vulture — Elisabetta’s is perhaps the one that most greatly captures that “unbearable lightness” (as I like to call it), that unlikely combination of power and ethereal elegance, muscularity and grace in the glass.

I love this wine.

There will be many other labels that we’ll be featuring at the restaurant this fall and I’m thrilled about all of them. But this is one of my favorites.

Served, by the glass and by the bottle, a casa Parzen.

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