Aglianico is a grape that is steadily gaining in popularity in the United States. Mostly grown in Italy, it has gained notice for being a well-priced option on wine lists at Italian restaurants, and when you don't want to shell out $75+ for even a basic wine from Montepulciano, Aglianico can be a great alternative.
Aglianico is pronounced "ah-lee-ahn-i-co", which is definitely a mouthful. Eric Asimov, the wine writer for the New York Times, described Aglianico in a recent article as one of his favorite red Italian grapes, going on to say that he finds wines made from the grape "delicious, structured, and age-worthy."
I tend to agree - I think Aglianico is often the perfect wine to drink with any deeper Italian food, as it combines good fruit with the earthiness to off set acidic dishes and depth to offset meaty ones. In that vein, my favorite food to hvae with Aglianico is a spicy, thin-crust sausage pizza with a good red sauce, like you might find in most New York pizzerias.
Other good pariing bets for Aglianico are braised or grilled beef; savory or strongly flavored cheese; roasted game birds, and grilled lamb. Next time you're at an Italian restaurant and want a safe bet that won't break the bank, give Aglianico a try and let us know what you think!