Aglianico: Grape Name Pronunciation Project

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Since I launched the Italian Grape Name Pronunciation Project one month ago today, the most requested ampelonym has been Aglianico.

The grape name poses a challenge for non-Italophones because of the phoneme gli (in Aglianico).

In Italian, the sound that corresponds to gli is what is called a palatal lateral approximant (click the link for the Wiki page) and is represented in the International Phonetic Alphabet by the following symbol:

ʎ

For the video, I have rendered the grape name as follows:

ah-L’YEE’AH-nee-koh

Italian speakers will note that Bruno — the nicest dude, one of my favorite growers of Aglianico, and a native of Campania where Aglianico is used to make some of the region’s and Italy’s most noble wines — pronounces gli with a softer inflection than his counterparts in the North of Italy, where a five- as opposed to seven-vowel system makes the i in gli more closed (more nasal).

Thanks for reading and speaking (and drinking) Italian grapes!

Facebook and oxidized stinky Fiano pair nicely

Above: Fiano d’Avellino grapes on the De Conciliis estate in Cilento (Campania, Italy).

Isn’t Facebook a trip? It gives us a view unto the personal lives and sometimes very intimate details of people whose lives would not ordinarily intersect with ours in the real-time world (as opposed to the virtual world). The vicissitudes we witness in this strange new medium are sometimes moving in ways — perhaps because of the degree of separation yet lack of alientation — unexpected and often welcome.

I had never met him, save for a phone interview I did with winemaker Bruno de Conciliis many years ago. After I tasted his 2004 Antece last year at Bacaro in Los Angeles, I looked for him on Facebook because I wanted to write him and tell him how much I liked this stinky, oxidized expression of Fiano d’Avellino, one of Campania’s most ancient grape varieties and one that has a enjoyed a renaissance in recent decades: it’s macerated with skin contact for 7 days, he wrote me, and, as he put it in a Facebook message, “we try for oxidation.” His approach is to “let what easily oxidizes oxidize. The rest is welcomed.” The resulting unfiltered wine (aged in large old-oak casks) is delightful, rich and aromatic, with some tannic structure. It’s a great example of natural wine. Bruno rightly calls it Antece or the ancients (akin to the Italian, antici; the penultimate syllable is the tonic): gauging from my knowledge of ancient winemaking (as described in Columella and Pliny), I believe that this wine is very similar to the wine produced in antiquity (and probably until the 18th century in Italy). (It reminds me of IWG’s excellent post, Interview with the Ancients.)

Bruno wrote that it’s his favorite wine he’s ever made and he sent me these photos. Facebook and wine seem to pair nicely together, don’t they?

In other news…

When is Brooklynguy gonna get a Facebook? Fugedaboudit.