Villa Matilde, Falerno del Massico DOC (Campania, Italy) 2016

($32, Kobrand Wine & Spirits):  Falerno del Massico, a small (not even 250 acres) DOC in Campania, retains appeal, in part, because Falerno was considered the great wine of ancient Rome.  With its lava-like underpinnings, Villa Matilde’s, made from a traditional Campania blend of Aglianico (80%) and Piedirosso, reflects its origins at the foot of the volcano, Roccamonfina.  This a broad shouldered red, delivering what you’d expect from Aglianico — tar and minerals and power.  And tannins, too.  But there’s underlying voluptuous cherry-like fruit to it, creating a lovely ying/yang of fruit and savory minerality.  Balanced and fresh because of the ever-present enlivening acidity, it finishes with a haunting touch of bitterness.  If you’re drinking it now, open hours in advance and chose a leg of lamb studded with garlic.  Otherwise, find a place in the cellar for it for at least five years.
93 Michael Apstein May 4, 2021