The Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva Radici 1997 is one of the best examples of an Italian red that gets frequently overlooked based on it's DOCG. Taurasi, along with Sagrantino di Montefalco is one of those excellent, age worthy power house reds that simply gets lost in the melee of great Italian varieties. Were Taurasi in any other country it would surely be one of the jewels in its crown but in a country where Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino are so internationally lauded Taurasi, sadly, falls by the wayside. Not so for the indigenousness population.
It's a well known fact that Italians are prone to extreme bouts of campanilismo (translation: a deep affection for your own bell tower), that is, they champion, drink and eat local produce believing that it's the best just because it's local. This isn't just an Italian thing, we all do this, just like your mum's Sunday Roasts are the best or Bolton Wanderers are the best. For the people of Lazio, lacking a great red anywhere around Rome I found that the most popular serious red among my friends and featuring proudly on most of the good restaurant wine lists, is Taurasi (yes even compared with Barolo) and three million people are rarely wrong excluding Jedward fans.
However, this is not simply home bias, Taurasi is, at its best, the finest example of the Aglianico grape. Aglianico has a marvellous time in the rich volcanic soil of Irpinia in Campania and in Taurasi, at high altitude, Aglianico can produce one of the world's best kept red wine secrets capable of mind blowing ageing and going through impressive and radical changes through that ageing curve.
Standard Taurasi is aged for three years, but the Riserva must be released after four. The wines are allowed to contain a small % of another grape (usually Barbera). The Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva Radici is 100% Aglianico and considered to be one of the best example of Taurasi year on year together with Feudi di San Gregorio (reviewed last year) and Salvatore Molettieri.
Food Match: Venison, Game and roasted red meat dishes.
Best Wines from this Producer: Consistently excellent wines year on year.
Taurasi Riserva Radici
Avalon (both white and red)
Fiano di Avellino Radici
Greco di Tufo Nova Serra
Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva Radici 1997 - BUY - €28
Ruby red with an orange hue this wine sits thick in the glass. The bouquet is beautifully floral (violet) and at the same time a little rough and leathery, gardeners gloves maybe! There is lots of good fruit on the nose as the wine continues to open up including cherry, dark berries and hints of licorice. On the palate the wine is hitting a peak, losing some baby fat and becoming more approachable with great balance but still drying especially on the finish which is long, puckering and peppery. Still going to have to leave this number alone, come back in five more years. 91 Points
Where can I buy this Wine?
Europeans - Divine Golosita Toscane - €28 - (2003 Vintage)
Americans - PJ Wine - $74 (2000 vintage)
Brits - AG Wines - £29 (1997 vintage)
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Simply have you every tried a Taurasi or Aglianico wine and what did you think?