Our tasting impressions
We are 100% confident offering this top-of-the-line Riserva without tasting it first. While 2017 was not as epic as 2018, we've offered and enjoyed a slew of her wines from this vintage. The Riserva has been a stellar, can't miss in every vintage we've tasted. Just be sure to give it time.
About this wine
100% Aglianico from Mount Vulture in the Basilicata region of Southern Italy. The Fucci vines are the oldest on this dormant volcano - most are about 60-years old, some older. The 6-hectare vineyard of Contrada Solagna of Titolo is 650 meters above sea level. The soil is volcanic lava and ash - what the locals call pozzolana - formed when the volcano slept for hundreds of years between eruptions. The high altitude produces grapes with less sugar than in other areas where Aglianico grows. The mountain gets more sun than almost anywhere in the world, so ripening in the cooler temperatures isn't a problem.
The finest grapes from her oldest vines are segregated for the Superiore and Riserva. They are manually harvested, de-stemmed and crushed in small batches. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks at temperatures of 22-24°C. Malolactic fermentation is in 200-liter French oak (50% new), where the wine ages for one year. Then Elena moves it to 500-liter Tonneaux for another 2 years before bottling. It is released after one year more of cellaring.
About the grape
Though not widely known, Aglianico is considered one of Italy's three most prestigious grape varieties - along with Nebbiolo and Sangiovese. Grown mostly in southern Italy, Aglianico is at its best from Campania and Basilicata (for the latter, the finest examples are from Mount Vulture). It thrives in a warm and dry climate.
The grapes are slow to ripen and have one of the longest growing seasons of any wine variety - sometimes harvest can extend into November. It is a highly acidic grape with firm tannins and considerable concentration.
Elena's view of the vintage
2017 is a somewhat lighter vintage. The spring was perfect with ample rain. The summer was hot and dry (it rained just once) but without hydric stress because the pozzolana (volcanic soil) stores water deeply where the lava and ash meet the clay. The harvest of a relatively small crop began on October 25.
Suggested Glassware: Grassl 1855
Elena Fucci started her wine tenuta in 2000, saving the 6-hectares of vineyards her grandfather purchased 40 years prior in Barile on the slope of Mount Vulture - a dormant volcano. Previously, her family sold the grapes or made wine for themselves.
Her vineyards are the oldest on the volcano and from the start she has produced a single wine from the vineyard of Contrada Solagna del Titolo, simply called Titolo. She does offer an occasional variation on Titolo - like her Amphora version and the 20th Anniversary edition - and in strong vintages, she reserves her best grapes for Titolo Superiore and Riserva bottlings.
Elena is passionate about her work and her wines. She built a new winery, connected to the original cellar by a tunnel through the volcanic rock. She is rightly proud that the facility has a zero energy footprint. In such a short time, she has risen quickly to the pantheon of Aglianico producers in Italy. VDLT is proud to offer, what is likely the most comprehensive compilation of her wines in America.