Macarico Macari Aglianico del Vulture 2007
Macarico is the name of one of the mountain's most prominent lava flows, a stream of iron- and mineral-rich soils from which Aglianico draws its concentration, its spice and its flavorful saturation. Aged in a mix of new and older French oak for 14 months.
Rino Botte and his wife, Lucia—both Barile natives—returned home to this beautiful, yet remote region of southern Italy after great success in the restaurant business in the north. Both knew, somehow, that even though they left Barile with wanderlust in their hearts, there was something magical about the region that would someday draw them back.
Botte returned in 1998 to purchase an abandoned winery in the heart of Barile to found both his winery, Macarico, and the Locanda del Palazzo, a hotel and restaurant that showcases the best wines and food of Basilicata and all of southern Italy.
What makes Macarico unique is its forward-looking approach to winemaking in a region that has known vines and wine for more than 2,000 years. High-altitude vineyards (more than 1,300 feet) enjoy an ideal southeastern exposure, and grow straight from the Macarico lava flow, from which the wine draws its name. The estate cellar was carved into the volcanic hillside, following local tradition—today families still keep this tradition, and such petite wine caves dot the hilly landscape of Barile. Macarico vineyards too are the densest in the region, with 10,000 plants per hectare.
The estate’s Macarico is aged for 14 months in a blend of new and used barrel; the estate’s “second” label, “Macari,” is aged for 10 months in older barrels.
Food, wine and culture should be the same word in Italian—so inseparable are local dishes with local wine and the spirit of the Italian family table. Few places we’ve discovered in our travels in Italy combine such a spirit so effortlessly, and with such high class.
While picturesque hillsides, endless coastlines and a favorable climate serve to unify the grape-growing culture of this country. The apparent never-ending world of indigenous grape varieties gives Italy an unexampled charm and allure. From the steep inclines of the Alps to the sprawling, warm, coastal plains of the south, red grape varieties thrive throughout.
The kings of Italy, wines like Barolo and Barbaresco (made of Nebbiolo), and Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino (made of Sangiovese), as well as Amarone (mostly Corvina), play center stage for the most lauded, collected and cellar-worthy reds. Less popular but entirely deserving of as much praise are the wines made from Aglianico, Sagrantino and Nerello Mascalese.
For those accustomed to drinking New World reds, the south is the place to start. Grapes like Negroamaro or Primitvo from Puglia and Nero d’Avola from Sicily make soft, ammicable, full-bodied, fruit-dominant wines. Curious palates should be on the lookout for Cannonau, Lagrein, Teroldego, Ruché, Freisa, Cesanese, Schiopettino, Rossese and Gaglioppo to name a few.