Like Elia Pellegrini, Aia Vecchia moved from the minor to the major league.
Aia Vecchia is a new player in the wine world with properties in Tuscany’s prestigious Bolgheri and Maremma appellations. Bolgheri is home to the renowned Sassicaia– and the nearly as famous– Ornellaia wines.
Last month, 25-year old Elia Pellegrini presented his family’s wines at Manhattan’s Craftbar restaurant. Pellegrini was a professional soccer player until a knee injury ended his career when he was only 22-years old. But being in the limelight, combined with his youthful energy, made him a relaxed spokesman for Aia Vecchia.
The Pellegrinis entered the wine business two generations ago growing and buying grapes for the production of bulk wines. Their decision to “up their game”, so to speak, took place in 1996 with the purchase of land in Bolgheri.
This appellation is devoted to Bordeaux grape varietals because the owner of Sassicaia, Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta planted cabernet sauvignon on his Bolgheri estate in 1948. It became a world famous wine, triggering a gold rush for vineyard land in Bolgheri planted with only Bordeaux grape varietals.
Pellegrini was born in La California, a village three miles from Bolgheri; Aia Vecchia’s vineyard for its Lagone and Sor Ugo red wines lies between those two points, and is planted with cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot and petit verdot, whose rootstock came from Bordeaux.
Pellegrini poured the appealing black fruit-scented 2010 Aia Vecchia Lagone while explaining that it bears a general Toscana appellation as some of the grapes come from its Maremma estate. But who cares about geography when the wine’s velvet texture is caressing your palate and its delicious black cherry flavor is scoring points?
And unlike the opposition, the 2010 Aia Vecchia Lagone is not flagged for fouling the wine with excessive alcohol, or at about $15, for over charging.
If the 2010 Aia Vecchia Lagone is a sleek wing-back bringing the ball up field, the 2010 Aia Vecchia Sor Ugo Bolgheri Rosso Superiore is a full-bodied full-back.
Made from all four Bordeaux varietals planted in its Bolgheri vineyard, the 2010 Aia Vecchia Sor Ugo Bolgheri Rosso Superiore leads with its pronounced black olive and chocolate aromas from being aged in 100 percent new French oak barrels for 18 months. This New World-styled wine will appeal to wine consumers who like their wines big and bold; but I found its noticeable alcohol and exaggerated fruit flavors to be offside.
At less than $39, the 2010 Aia Vecchia Sor Ugo Bolgheri Rosso Superiore avoids the penalty box.
The Aia Vecchia 2013 Vermentino is a white wine from the family’s Maremma estate. It starts the attack with a pleasant citrusy aroma, and moves the delightful lemon and grapefruit flavors across your palate the way Pellegrini gracefully moved the ball for his Livorno team; the winning kick is the delightful fruit-filled, balanced finish.
At less than $12, the Aia Vecchia 2013 Vermentino Maremma is a contender for the World Cup.
Martin Scott in Lake Success, N.Y., distributes the Aia Vecchia wines.