Mastroberardino, Taurasi Radici Riserva 'Antonio' 2008 (4.7/5)
The Radici Taurasi Riserva 2008 edition bears on the bottle the name of Antonio Mastroberardino, together with a portrait of his face dedicated to him by his son Piero.
Antonio Mastroberardino does not need any introduction, being internationally recognised as the man behind the Renaissance of Irpinia wine scene. He is the man that has achieved with Aglianico what a handful of other producers have achieved with Nebbiolo or Sangiovese, raising Taurasi's prestige to the level of the best Barolo/Barbaresco/Sassella or the best Brunello/Chianti.
What I surely admire is that, notwithstanding the success amongst public and critics and the demonstrated age-worthy nature of their wines, Mastroberardino has always maintained a down-to-earth profile that is also reflected on the extremely honest pricing policy of all their labels.
So, what's in this bottle of 2008 Riserva Antonio?
100% Aglianico grapes coming from the highest part (550mt a.s.l.) of the Montemarano vineyard, featuring a South-East exposure and a chalky-clay soil.
Winemaking operations are carried out in a traditional style, with long maceration on skins and long (30 months in a mix of French oak barriques and Slovenian oak barrels) ageing. Additional 40 months are spent in bottle before release.
A wine of notable integrity with respect to Terroir and to grape variety. A wine of great balance, where the fine tannic structure and vibrant acidity are in perfect harmony with the moderate alcohol content and the solid core of grapes extracts. The complexity here is very good, with the typical notes of unsmoked tobacco leaves, the cola and quinine hints, the black spices enriching the ripe cherries background. Oak is very well integrated, subtle indeed. The persistence of flavours on the palate is remarkable. Austere elegance marries here great drinkability. Needless to say, food-friendly by definition. A wine that I really like (hedonism) and that I share only with my best friends, especially when they bring to the table some home-made cured pork, hard ewe's cheese and sourdough bread. Simple things that are full of flavours, like real friendship and love - including the one that links a son to his father. This what wine can do. This what wine can be. An expression of human culture able to connect people even when they are far away in space and/or in time. Simple, yet magical.