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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Aglianico, Greco and Fiano - Antonio Mastroberardino's legacy lives on

Antonio Mastroberardino, the man most associated with the preservation and elevation of Aglianico and Greco, has passed away at 86. The Mastroberardino family spearheaded the preservation and refinement of Campanian varietals across all price points, culminating with legendary '68 Taurasi from which is precisely how Aglianico came to be known as the Barolo of the South. Without him, we would not be growing Aglianico today.

Particularly interesting to me is the family's Villa dei Misteri project. This bottling attempts to recreate a wine that would have been drunk in ancient Pompeii. Working with archeologists and DNA testing ancient seeds the planted 8 nearly forgotten cultivars (5 white, 3 red) at the 3,000/acre planting and trellising that was common 2,000 years ago. The winemaking is relatively contemporary with a few ancient nods, and the current blend is Piedirosso and Sciascinoso. I have not had it and it is very limited, but I greatly admire the spirit of inquiry and intellectual adventure.