Friday, February 24, 2023

A Puglian Pairing - Short Ribs with the 2020 Epicuro Aglianico

As I wrap up this month on the Puglia wine region, I’m featuring a food and wine pairing from the regionAlthough the short ribs I’m sharing are not typical Puglian cuisine, I felt like it would be a great pairing with the Aglianico that was paired.   

The Winery – Femar Vini 

I’m always intrigued by these wines at Trader Jo, but there is never enough information on the history behind the producer although I did find some on this wineThe 2020 Epicuro Aglianco wine is part of the Merge Collection under the brand Femar ViniThe grapes come from various designations and regions so I’m not sure how much consistency there is from vintage to vintage.  Per their site, the name Epicuro is dedicated to the “epicurean concept, the pleasure”.

In the 1920’s Manlio Merge began producing wine and olive oil. His son, Armando, in the 1970’s established the company around Frascati, Monte Porzio Catone and Agro Romano in the Lazio region. In 1995 Felice Merge converted the company to become what it is known today, Femar Vini.  

The Grape - Aglianico 

Aglianico is a grape that is native to the Campania and Basilicata regions of southern Italy that I’ll be covering next monthIt is a dark-skinned grape that produces wines that are full-bodied with high tannins and acidityThe Aglianico grape typically does well in warmer, dry climates and it does especially well in volcanic soilsIt’s no wonder that it calls the regions of Campania and Basilicata home with the volcanic soils of Taurasi and Taburno in Campania and Vulture in BasilicataIt’s an early ripening grape that matures late into the harvesting seasonAglianico typically produces wines that are age worthy. 

The Wine 

I was pleasantly surprised by the 2020 Epicuro Aglianico Puglia IGP wine I chose by Femar ViniBeing judgemental in the price I paid at about $6-7 a bottle and it being a selection from Trader Joe’s, I felt it would probably be a fruit bombThis was quite the valueThe wine is fermented and aged in stainless steelAlthough it’s not a complex knock your socks off wine, it makes a great everyday wineA deeper ruby color in the glass the aromas were filled with mostly blackberries, blueberries with a touch of spice and licoriceOn the palate this wine was dry and medium-bodied with moderate acidity up front with softer tannins for an AglianicoRipe, dark fruits including plums and blackberries filled the palate with a touch of spiceA touch of oak near with some decent length on the finishABV 13% 

2020 Epicuro Aglianico paired with short ribs

The Pairing 

I’ve always been a big fan of Aglianico, but really haven’t enjoyed it outside its native regions. I had put off cooking short ribs I got from our local farm, but with the winter months dwindling and wanting to try this bottle of Aglianico I felt it would be a great pairing to try. The sauce I prepared with the short ribs in my instant pot was to die for and the richness complemented nicely with the Aglianico. I used some of the wine in the sauce along with beef broth, balsamic, a touch of brown sugar and soy sauce. A little higher acidity and tannin would have been even better for such a rich meal. Easy preparation with my Instant Pot and an inexpensive bottle made for a great dinner! 

Importer: D’Aquino Italian Importing Co. 

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