Matthew's World of Wine and Drink

About Matthew's World of Wine and Drink.

This blog began as a record of taking the WSET Diploma, during which I studied and explored wines and spirits made all around the world. Having passed the Diploma and become a WSET Certified Educator, the blog has become much more: a continual outlet for my passion for the culture of wine, spirits, and beer.

I aim to educate in an informal, enlightening, and engaging manner. As well as maintaining this blog to track my latest enthusiasms, I provide educational tastings for restaurants and for private groups. Details can be found on the website, and collaborations are welcome.

Wine is my primary interest and area of expertise and this blog aims to immerse the reader in the history of wine, to understand why wine tastes like it does, and to explore all the latest news. At the same time, beer and spirits will never be ignored. 

For the drinker, whether casual or professional, today is a good time to be alive.

Salvatore Mollatieri Vigna Cinque Querce Taurasi 2006

Salvatore Mollatieri Vigna Cinque Querce Taurasi 2006

The south of Italy is hot and arid with poor regions that saw a lot of emigration throughout the twentieth century. The wines have rarely been associated with quality, simple and fruity for local consumption. If they made it out of the south, it was for underhand blending to add colour and body to the more prestigious wines of the north.

Thankfully, a lot has changed in the last twenty years or so. There’s been investment into the south, which has raised and modernised the standard of winemaking. And there’s also been greater focus on indigenous grape varieties which produce distinctive, high-quality wines.

One of these is Aglianico, which I rank the equal of Nebbiolo. It has a similar structure, with high tannins, acidity, and alcohol, but with more fruit and body. At the earliest, the wines should only be drunk after seven years, and can last decades.

The most famous area for Aglianico is Taurasi in Campania, where volcanic hillsides dominate (it’s not far from Pompeii). In the warm climate of southern Italy, Aglianico exceeds on difficult, volcanic soils and at heights of 400m+. Minimum ageing is three years in oak (four years for Riserva), although the grape’s naturally high tannins and the price of new oak mean that the oak is usually old.

Salvatore Mollatieri comes from a family with a winemaking history. He established his winery in 1983, and now his four sons are all involved. White wine is also made, from the local, quality white varieties Fiano and Greco. This Aglianico comes from his best vineyard, Cinque Querce, which is 500-550m high. 

This is the ideal time to be drinking this Aglianico from 2006: the tannins are firm but not too aggressive, the acidity balances those tannins, and there are ripe red fruits, as well as mature, earthy aromas. A balanced, complex, textured wine that I’d still decant for a couple of hours. This isn't an easy wine, but a serious one that demands and deserves contemplation.

 Price: $49

Vintage: 2006

Grape Variety: 100% Aglianico 

Region: Taurasi, Italy

Alcohol: 14.7%

Ageing: 36 months in large Slavonian and French oak barrels

Rating: ✪✪✪✪✪

Drink: now-2030

Food pairing: heavy, meaty pasta dishes; steak; game.

Becker-Landgraf Gau-Odernheimer Spätburgunder 2015

Becker-Landgraf Gau-Odernheimer Spätburgunder 2015

Olivier Rivière Gabaxo 2014

Olivier Rivière Gabaxo 2014