Cantina di Venosa, with its 350 members, is one of the most famous wineries in Italy’s southern region of Basilicata. It’s a world leader for the production of the increasingly popular Aglianico del Vulture DOC wine and has a long tradition which has made it thrive over the years, ever since the winery’s foundation, over 60 years ago in 1957.
Venosa, its home town, is one of Italy’s potentially most interesting, if as yet undiscovered, tourist destinations with a rich artistic and historical patrimony. It’s the birthplace of the Roman poet Horace and of the aristocratic composer Carlo Gesualdo. Roman monuments abound in this town that lies at the foot of the Vulture volcano, and it’s this volcano that is the source of the locality’s rich viticultural heritage.
Aglianico del Vulture
Venosa’s most important wine owes its exquisite quality to the soil created by the action of the Vulture volcano and the micro-climate of the vineyards that surround it, as well as the Aglianico grape variety itself. Its documented admirers go back to Charles d’Anjou I, King of Naples and Sicily, and Pope Paul III Farnese. In modern times, fans of Southern Italy’s most important red wine once explained its austere sophistication and elegance by referring to it as “the Barolo of the South”. This may have communicated its prestige, justly enough, but actually its quality is intrinsic and the wine is increasingly recognised for its own particular quality and increasingly made with special attention to detail by wineries like Cantina di Venosa.
Indeed, Cantina di Venosa are specialists in Aglianico del Vulture, and always have been. This means that the equipment that the winery uses for winemaking is technologically very advanced, but the love and care employed in the production of its wines are the same as always. Member vignerons are carefully guided during the harvest period so that the grapes produced are at their best; maceration and fermentation are carefully handled; and maturation, when the Aglianico wine is decanted into French or Slavonian oak barrels, is meticulous.
Cantina di Venosa is carrying out an important project of territorial enhancement linked to sustainability, an investment to protect the land that gives 350 families a living and ensure viability of wine production for the future.
The winery’s sustainability project starts in the vineyards with integrated pest control and then extends to the entire production cycle: from the 200KW photovoltaic system – which slashes carbon dioxide emissions – to the use of 70% recycled glass; from the modern bottling system that keeps waste to the minimum to the use of vegetable glues for final packaging.
Sustainability is part of the modernisation project put in place by winery president Francesco Perillo with a view to further increases in quality. Results in wine tasting competitions, including Decanter’s World Wine Awards and Asia Wine Awards show that the drive towards greater quality is a reality that is already having its effect.
The 2018/2019 season has brought great success to Cantina di Venosa’s Aglianico del Vulture wine:
• Verbo 2015: Gold Medal at Berlin Wine Trophy and the Asia Wine Trophy, Oscar at Douja d’Or in Asti.
• Verbo Bianco Malvasia: Platinum Medal in Decanter Asia Wine Awards with a score of 97/100; Gold Medal at Mundus Vini.
Cantina di Venosa’s “jewel in the crown” is the Aglianico del Vulture called Carato Venusio:
• Gold Medal with Decanter World Wine Awards in 2018 and
• Four Corkscrews in the AIS Guide 2020.
This wine is a cuvée of 100% Aglianico grapes that grow on vines 15-30 years old at an altitude of 400 meters, vinified in small fermentation vats. The alcoholic and malolactic fermentations are then completed in stainless steel tanks before the wine is transferred for ageing into oak barrels to enrich its fruity profile with tertiary aromas.
Tasting note: complex structure, ample but well balanced alcohol content, fresh tasting and savoury with black-fruit flavours to balance the finish.