Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WW: Duchman 2010 Aglianico

Right now, it seems Duchman Family Winery is the talk to Texas, at least those interested in Hill Country wine. This Italian styled winery boasts an incredible line-up of interesting and unique single varietal wines. These wines, mainly Italian based, are crowd pleasers. In fact, these wines can be found throughout Texas, including fine restaurants and at Whole Foods (often on tap). At the moment, it seems most are focusing on the strong whites, especially the always crisp and refreshing Vermentino and the interesting Trebbiano. The reds are just as exciting. Recently, I opened up a bottle of 2010 Aglianico. These red is not the typical sort of red; its unique flavors and their combination create another facet to the strong line-up at Duchman.

Beneath me, a stone
no moisture, just a hard stone
smooth, slick against me.

I don't move. The stone supports 
me, feels good against my feet.


This wine is strong, especially when it comes to the more dry and natural flavors like oak and earth. These flavors are strong from the onset and soften as the wine progresses. This odd approach makes me think of grit. What I mean by that is the flavors remind me of the dryness and rough nature of grit; the wine is not gritty. When I taste such strong earth and oak, I can only think of dry soil. In a wine, this can make the taste problematic; however, with this wine, it softens as it goes along, accentuating the dryness. This dryness works well with the other flavors.

Towards the middle of the palate and to the end, other flavors weave into the earth and oak that is so pronounced up front. Dark flavors -- like those of very dark, bitter chocolate and dark, minimally sweet fruit (I can envision an aging plum or a raisin) -- mingle with the other flavors. The sweetness so often brought to a wine through the fruit flavors is lessened, allowing the other aspects of the fruit flavors to come forward. The bitter chocolate flavor seems to help with the blending; this makes it hard to clearly distinguish the other flavors from the developing taste. I was amazed by this progression.
At the end, there is only the faintest taste and feel of earth (it's dryness) that lingers. Before long,
even that calms and drifts away.


Visual Tasting

From Balcones Canyonland National Wildlife Refuge (near Marble Falls, TX and Lago Vista, TX)
No matter what I did, I kept envisioning a dry stretch of ground. The ground is dark brown, but it is dry and brittle. Interspersed in this spot are clumps of caliche; however, they are not white, exactly, but are blending into the dirt to keep a more even color. What is most notable is the clumping; the dirt gathers in large, strong clumps and pack together. And hidden in this are small, dirty rocks. These rocks are barely noticeable, but they are there if you look closely. All of this is the dryness I get from the wine, but there is a unity in the flavors -- the caliche -- and hidden gems -- the rocks -- that combine to make a strong collection.

Sunset on South Padre Island
What came to me as the night wore on, though, was the idea that this wine was like the last rays of sun at dusk. In these moments, the sky is mostly this darkening purple and navy, blending seamlessly as it turns to black. The strong, upfront sensations of the wine resemble this primary essence. But, at this point, there are those dying embers of orange and red that streak through those few clouds resting on the western horizon. These colors are that last stand of the day, but they are also not as apparent as everything else; this is the other flavors in the wine. And like the other flavors, despite their difference in color, they do blend and combine with the other colors, softening a bit to pink that turns purple and enfolds into the navy. As I drink the wine, I sense that blending of the less noticed into the dominate.

Physical sensation

What I found most interesting in this wine was the dryness. We all talk about wines being dry, but it doesn't often seem to really come through. I rarely find myself noticing that my mouth feels dry, in a sense. I had that with this wine, which I found intriguing. For me, that dryness was pleasant, like running along a bunch of smooth rocks. The rocks are most definitely dry under my feet. They are also dominating the sensations I get as I run along them. However, there is something more to the dryness. The feel is smooth. This is not rough with rock edges poking into my feet; this is smoothness that slides gently underneath my foot. The dryness in the wine creates a smooth movement like running along smooth rocks.

The Duchman Aglianico (which is just so hard to pronounce sometimes) was a puzzler, but that is the reason that it is a Wine Wednesday wine. There is something oddly pleasant about a wine that challenges one's taste buds and mind. As I spent time swishing the dark red liquid, I pondered over it. I spent sip after sip probing and exploring this unique experience. In the end,  I was left feeling all smoothed out, relaxed and comfortable. This is a great wine to spend time with, and I know it will be a great pairing wine.


  1. I think this wine will age gracefully

  2. Bobby: I think you may be right. I will have to get another bottle and let it sit.

    Thanks for coming by the blog. Your input is VERY much appreciated. And your hard work with TX wine is appreciated even more.