This is one of those wines that makes me wonder about the specifics of the new FTC regulations. I promise I won't harp on disclosure in every post, but take this unique situation:
I got this bottle from Fredric Koeppel as a gift. However, he got it from Terry "Strappo" Hughes. Strappo works as an importer in New York for Domenico Selections. The company got the bottle from the producer in Italy.
So... the Southerner in me issues thanks to everyone involved, but legally which party is promoting this wine? Damn it all, let's pop this open and just enjoy the wine.
This is the 2007 Musto Carmelitano Serra del Prete from Basilicata. Looking at the southern end of Italy, with Puglia as the heel and Calabria as the toe, Basilicata is the arch between the two (or more accurately, the cuboid, navicular, and cuneiform bones). This area is full of rich volcanic soil from the extinct Mount Vulture volcano, which gives its name to the grape variety: this is 100% Aglianico del Vulture, unoaked, 14% abv. Black plum, black cherry, a little tart with aggressive tannins that make you stand up and take notice. With rest you get some more subtle flavors of chocolate and fig, even approaching stewed fruit at times.
When you're at a wedding and see a beautiful woman, you don't want to ask her to dance during the ceremony. Be patient and your luck will improve. This is a roundabout way of saying that this wine needs to breathe a bit. Try it immediately after opening and it's like a slap in the face, but even fifteen minutes later it's a far more suave experience.
On its own this is a big, strong wine, but serve it with something equally big and flavorful and it takes on a softer character. I had it with some of the leftover lamb chops and liver-flavored rice from the Grace Restaurant dinner as well as a little smoked beef brisket the following day. You'll want something earthy like game, wild boar, goat, etc. This is a wine that I'd love to try, say, every two years to see how it ages. I don't know that I'll get the opportunity, but this has the kind of firm youthful structure that seems to lend itself to graceful cellaring.
Strappo has full details on this wine on his company blog as well as his personal blog. Check out his sites for details on his exciting trips to Italy, random musings, and occasional Italiano-English lessons.