Harvest at the end of the earth: Vulture dispatch

Please click here for info/details on my upcoming tasting events in the west, Nov. 1, 2, and 5.


“The grapes are very healthy and we’re looking forward to an excellent harvest,” writes my good friend Filena Ruppi, the better half of the Donato d’Angelo winery in Vulture (Basilicata), producer of one of my favorite expressions of Aglianico.

“As you can see, we are returning to the classic harvest times for Aglianico at the end of October.”

Like many grape growers, Donato and Filena are harvesting nearly two weeks later than they have in recent years. Across Italy, growers have reported that this harvest reminds them of the pre-climate change era.

They began harvesting this week (see image above).

donato dangelo

When I recently visited the Tenuta Il Poggione in Montalcino, one of the writers on the trip asked winemaker Fabrizio Bindocci what Italian appellation showed the most promise in terms of fine wine production.

Without missing a beat, he responded Aglianico del Vulture.

At Sotto in Los Angeles, where I co-author the wine list, we do great work with Aglianico del Vulture, including Filena and Donato’s but also a number of fantastic producers (Musto Carmelitano, Carbone, Fucci among them) and I love the wines.

Filena has just been elected the president of the Basilicata chapter of the Movimento Tursimo del Vino (Italy’s Wine Tourism Council) and I’m thrilled to see her breathe some life into this often forgotten wine tourism destination.

When Tracie P and I drove across Vulture last September, with little Georgia P in the back seat, we felt like we were at the end of the earth: the black and gold striations of the stark but beautiful landscape make it feel otherworldly. It’s no surprise that Pasolini filmed certain sequences of his life of Christ there (The Gospel According to St. Matthew, 1964).

mt vulture

That’s a photo of Mount Vulture I took last year.

And below is a wonderful photo that Tracie P snapped.

And with this dispatch from Filena, sent from the end of the earth, it would seem that the 2013 harvest in Italy has come to an end…

scorched earth rare earth

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