The Lucano family of Carbone is located in Melfi, Basilicata, close to the stunning Norman & subsequently Anjou & Swabian castle, in an ancient cellar hewn out of the black lava rock, they first planted Aglianico vines in the 1970s. Up until vintage 2005, & as was the tradition in the area, the family sold their fruit off; in their case it was to then famous cantina of Paternoster.
Since 2005, Sara and her brother Luca have bottled their fruit themselves; initially with the help of Sergio Paternoster as consultant, but then on their own from vintage 2015. They focus their energy on 8 hectares planted in the sooty black, potassium rich, volcanic ash soils vineyards of the Aglianico del Vulture DOC(G). Their key vineyards are: 40 year old vine, masale selection Piani dell’Incoronata at 550 mtrs asl; Monte Lapis (also planted in the 1980s); & 2009 clone-planted Braida at 560m asl, on clay & volcanic dust. Vinification takes place in stainless steel, with affinamento/elevage in used and new French barrique and tonneaux, before returning to stainless-steel.
They produce three Aglianico del Vulture wines: the first, ‘400 Some’ after the 400 mules belonging to King Carlo d’Angio of Southern Italy; predominantly from Monte Lapis & Braida fruit aged in predomoninantly 300 french oak barrels. The second: ‘Stupor Mundi’, celebrating the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II (1194-1250), from Piani dell’Incoronata fruit only, aged for 12/15 months in 500 litre used French tonneaux. And the third Aglianico is a Riserva DOCG Stupor Mundi’, first made in vintage 2011, aged for 2 years in tonneaux, & released for sale in autun of the 5th year. They also make a Fiano Basilicata Bianco!
Fruit of the chocolate brown volcanic soils that surround Monte Vulture, this is classic damson & graphite, full-bodied, fresh & authentic Aglianico del Vulture at its very best.
From 2012 conversion in biologico/organic, certified in 2015 by Assoc. Suolo e Saluta
Aglianico del Vulture DOC ‘400 Some’, Melfi
Aglianico del Vulture DOC ‘Stupor Mundi’, Melfi
Aglianico del Vulture Riserva DOCG ‘Stupor Mundi’ DOCG, Melfi
Fiano Bianco Basilicata IGT, Melfi
2014 ‘400 Some’ Aglianico del Vulture DOC – tasted May’19, 13.5%, bottled Dec’18, stainless-steel, then 12 mths tonneaux, then back to steel, only from their 15 yo Braida vineyard at 560m asl, a black clay & ash soil. 2014 was a year of change, re-focusing the cantina round fewer vines ( 8 instead of 22ha), & on the wines. Vintage was cool & quite wet, but Sept & October were stupendo! Yields though were down circa 40% as they didn’t pick from the cooler Monte Lapis vineyard, near the forest, hence this single vineyard, Braida, selection; the harvest was during the first three weeks of October. Hence also the lighter 14 day maceration. Deep dark sooty black/red; the nose swells with smoky, spirity, sooty, damson, iodine, pepper, hedgerow & gunpowder fruit! The medium/full palate is engaging & authentic, brambly broad, breezy too, a cool coil of ribes at its core, open-hearted, pure, supple, sapid hedgerow fruit tannins, a top-dressing of ash, real!
2013 ‘400 Some’ Aglianico del Vulture DOC – Concentrated, dark fruit. 100% Aglianico. Black cherry, damson, bramble and pepper spice, a chocolatey richness, brooding and intensely fruity. 20 days of maceration, aged in French oak barrels for 12months which lends gentle framing and is well integrated with the fruit tannins, which are prominent yet fine.
2012 ‘400 Some’ Aglianico del Vulture DOC – named after the 400 mules belonging to King Carlo d’Angio of Southern Italy; predominantly from Monte Lapis & Braida fruit aged in predomoninantly 300Litre french oak barrels for 12 mths: damson red, rich but bright & crunchy spirity damson/plum notes, brambly even, bold yet inviting; fleshy pulp, plenty of generous, crunchy fruit, smoky kirsch dark cherry, open hearted, emphasis on fruit & immediacy. Medium/full. 14%
2014 ‘Stupor Mundi’ Aglianico del Vulture DOC – bright, dark cherry, fig, plum, and dark chocolate, with herbal notes of wild mint and balsamic, and a subtle sweet spice. The palate is compact yet refined & crunchy cool, with a concentrated core of dark cherry fruit, lifted by lively little red berry fruit and frescezza, and all held together by very finely woven, velvety tannins. 15 months in tonneaux lends an added layer of complexity and harmony. Structured, full, and elegant. Really impressive…Sara & her brother Luca have handled the wood ageing perfectly, so allowing the cool, cologne fresh dark fruit to shine!
2013 ‘Stupor Mundi’ Aglianico del Vulture DOC – celebrating the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II (1194-1250), from single vineyard Piani dell’Incoronata fruit only, aged for 12/15 months in 500 litre used French tonneaux; as ever, ‘Stupor Mundi’ is all together finer, compounded by the cooler vintage, paler red in colour, the nose is cooler, tighter, mentholated/minty, herbal, indeed Nebbiolo like (!); the palate’s very suave, silky, it flows, with judicious use of french oak to allow the fresh, energetic fruit to shine through while adding a creamy/ cerise dimension. Lovely brightness, presence, fuller but more elegant & detailed too, pacy with red cherry spirity notes, 14%
2013 Aglianico del Vulture Riserva ‘Stupor Mundi’ DOCG – 14.5% ABV. To be in commercio from 1st November 2018. The Riserva is not made every year. 2 years minimum in wood (tonneaux in this case), then 2 years in bottle, and then released for sale in the 5th year. Developed and complex, Christmas pudding, dried fig and raisin, chocolate, a hint of coffee. Earthy, smokey, rich and full, expansive on the palate, with sculpted, muscular tannins, this wine will go on and on.
2011 Aglianico del Vulture Riserva ‘Stupor Mundi’ DOCG – aged for 2 years in tonneaux, & released for sale in autumn of the 5th year; the inaugural 2011’s prodigious, a veritable mirror on Carbone’s black sooty soils found in their old Piani dell’Incoronata vineyard, broguht to life through wild yeasts; darker brooding black/purple pearl colour; sooty, graphite, volcanic ash, along with the red/blackberry hedgerow wildness – hairiness?! Shows a refreshing sense of abandon, a real sense of place – it’s so out there! Profound, emphatic, recalls those Paternoster wines of the 1980s/90s (made with Carbone fruit?!). It takes some coaxing out of the glass, but the 2011 vintage is immensely rewarding & very drinkable. Layers of earth, ash, of Dundee/Christmas pudding/cake & raisined fruit, succulent, smouldering, broad tannins balanced by kirsch richness, decadent even. Wow!
2018 Fiano Basilicata Bianco IGT – tasted May’19, 12.5%, 4500 bottled in May with DIAM3, only stainless-steel, selected yeast, left on lees for circa 6 mths, no malolactic, from the fruit of circa 30 yo 100% Fiano di Avellino (as there’s no Fiano Lucano!) planted in the fabled Piani dell’Incoronata vineyard at altitude below the volcano itself, on black sooty soils. Contrasting wonderfully with the wine’s gleaming, vibrant neon yellow; the nose pings with rich, ripe yet altitude fresh & volcanic smoky, lemon zest, orange blossom, pithy notes, cool & cedro. The dry palate is supper fleshy, yet bright with pear/quince (mela cotone), very pure, finely balanced at 12.5% abv, reflecting the balanced quantity & quality vintage. Fleshy, very Fiano, purposeful, sapid & juicy. Their finest Fiano yet!