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NV Prima Materia Aglianico, Kelsey Bench, Lake County
"This is a seriously structured and concentrated multi-vintage blend that's based in dark chocolate, black pepper and pomegranate flavors and coated in firm, fine-grained tannins."
- 91 points Wine Enthusiast
Our biggest, boldest red wine. Black fruits with black cherry, dark plums, licorice, baking spice, graphite, cassis, and a touch of roasted herbs. Medium acidity and grippy signature tannins are definitley present, but in refined, crafted form. Good minerality. Like a mountainside Cabernet Sauvignon, but more Italianate.
Hand harvested. Native fermentation in bins, gentle hand punchdowns after a cold harvest and roughly 4-5-day soak. Just a bit of whole cluster as Aglianico doesn’t seem to like very much for us. Bins fermented to different peak temperatures. 16-20 days fermenting then wood-basket pressed at dryness. No sulfur added for one year, no racking until bottling after 30 months in neutral barrels (average).
Grown at 1450 feet elevation. Taurasi Clones VCR 2 (adds acidity plus earth, beautifully rustic) and 7 (fruit, spice, small open clusters, more “modern”) planted in 2003. Approximately 7% Montepulciano interplanted. Nearly dry farmed. No pesticides or herbicides.
A study in contrasts. 2017 for us had double “normal” rain fall, and a rollercoaster of heat spikes and cool days, yielding acid-driven, spicy wines of lower alcohol. 2018 was back to sustained heat, and less than ¼ of the rainfall the prior vintage enjoyed, yielding a broad palate, lower acidity and deeper color and fruit tones. 2018 also had abnormally elegant fine-grained tannins, with Fall perhaps mirroring its homeland in the volcanic Campanian mountains.
Why non-vintage? We had 6 weeks of fire in Lake County during 2018, and blending vintages insured that any smoke level would be totally undetectable.
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