Organic Aglianico from Ciro Picariello

Happy New Year everyone. Camilla from Culinary Adventures decided to start the #ItalianFWT crew on a mission to taste Aglianico and watch a movie. A great idea, it made me think of all the movies that are set in Italy or about Italians that I love and I picked Big Night about two brothers who struggle with their restaurant on the Jersey shore in the 1950s. They are from Calabria and the restaurant is called Paradise. The brothers, Primo and Secondo, differ in their desires. The failing restaurant is dragging them down but Secondo loves America and wants to make it work. Without giving away the plot, the film ends with Secondo cooking an Omelette for Primo. Done in silence, it’s one of my favorite last scenes of a movie of all time.

For New Year’s Eve, I made a Mushroom Frittata, the Italian version of an Omelette. We ate it so fast I didn’t have time to take a picture.

Ciro Picariello has 7 hectares of high elevation vineyards in Campania, divided between the villages of Montefredane at 500 meters and Summonte at 650 meters.  He and his wife Rita founded the winery in 2004 and work with their children in the winery as well. Well-known for his Fiano d’Avellino wines, he also makes an Aglianico called Irpinia Aglianico DOP Zi Filicella after Ciro’s mother-in-law. The vines are very old, 100+ year old vines, with trellising in an ancient manner. The wine is fermented with ambient yeast in stainless steel and ages in steel for 24 months before release.

Aglianico, we know is often called the “Barolo of the South” although I think it is really quite a different wine with more acidity and sexier, smoky notes. The ones from Irpinia are from vineyards at elevation because Irpinia is in the foothills of the Appennine Mountains. Irpinia has a continental climate rather than a Mediterranean one. There is considerable thermal excursion and this allows the grapes to reach phenolic ripeness. The soils are a mix of volcanic ash, sand, clay and limestone with fossil materials  and generally good drainage.

Aglianico from Irpinia seems to me to be more fruit forward and perhaps more approachable at a younger age than some of the Taurasi labeled wines I have had. It also has a nice price point between $15-$25. I think it’s a great way to get to know Aglianico. 

It’s a great, affordable version of this unrated grape. Fresh with black and red fruit, loads of spice and herbal notes, it would pair well with a mushroom omelette but also with host of other foods, including the lentils I made as per Italian tradition and the risotto I am making for lunch today. Cheers to all, let’s hope 2022 brings good tidings of all sorts.


  1. True, often you feel the “true” Aglianico in an Irpinia Aglianico wine. The Taurasi often were, still are to some extent “barriqued” a bit too much or somehow overoaked, though that is changing slowly by now. Taurasi is a more powerful and structured wine in general so the Aglianico, I agree, is more approachable. A great parallel to the Big Night movie. 🙂

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