Aglianico del Vulture Superiore DOCG "Kamai"


100% Aglianico (as required by the DOCG). San Martino’s six hectares of well-aged vines are split into 8 parcels at almost 600 meters among the hills at a distance of 4.5 km from the ancient Vulture volcano in northern Basilicata. The soils are a complex layering of sand, shells and stones rich in volcanic ash. The climate is continental, in spite of the southerly latitude, due to the high elevation and the strong Atlantic winds coming over the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west. The farming has been organic from the start (certified), made easier than in most regions by the intense sun and drying effect of constant winds from three coasts; the harvest in Vulture is generally later than anywhere else in Italy.

Kamai is made from the oldest vines of San Martinon, ranging from 60-80 years old. The fruit is harvested by hand into small bins and carefully sorted and destemmed. The different parcels are vinified separately. Fermentation occurs spontaneously with indigenous yeasts and a tiny amount of sulfur in steel tanks. Maceration is 10-14 days with only an occasional pump-over (4-5 times maximum) followed by a gentle pressing: owner/winemaker Lorenzo Piccin thinks in terms of infusion rather than extraction, a necessary approach to bring out elegance of aromatics and tannins in this naturally structured grape. The aging regime varies year to year with the nature of the vintage but involves a mix of used wood in the form of tonneaux and 5000-liter botti: Kamai spends an extra year in wood vs. Siir or Arberesko. Bottling is without fining or filtering. "Kamai" means "of the earth" in the local, strongly Albanian-influenced dialect.

94 points
"The 2015 Aglianico del Vulture Superiore Kamai is gorgeous, dark, brooding and balsamic. Notes of cocoa and brown spice give way to black currants and lifting hints of mint and smoke as this opens slowly in the glass. Its textures are velvety yet pure, ushering in waves of ripe mineral-tinged fruits that leave a coating of fine tannin and notes of tobacco in their wake. Musky berry, menthol and savory herbal tones linger incredibly long through the dramatic and structured finale. The Kamai (local dialect for “of the earth”) comes from 60- to 80-year-old vines planted at 600 meters in soils that mix sand, shells, stones and volcanic ash. It’s matured for two years in a combination of tonneaux and 5,000-liter botti. The 2015 is a beautiful wine that will enjoy a long and open drinking window."
Eric Guido,
Vinous Media
, July 2021

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