The wines of Carbone, Basilicata, Italy
Impressive wines from Aglianico and Fiano 


I tasted these wines with Sara Carbone (above), who along with her brother Luca, manage this estate which they inherited from their parents.

The family have been growing grapes in this region of southern Italy since 1974, but previously sold the grapes to other companies. It’s only since 2005 that Sara and Luca have been bottling their own wines.

This is the south, but the warm climate is moderated by altitude, with the hot days followed by cool evenings. The vines are grown in deep brown volcanic soils surrounding Mount Vulture, and they are lucky enough to be working with two excellent grape varieties: whites are made from Fiano and reds from Aglianico.

They have 10 hectares of Aglianico and Fiano planted in Melfi (most in the 1970s), and a further 8 hectares more recently planted with Aglianico and Moscato.

Aglianico is a fabulous variety – the Nebbiolo of the south. It can be quite tannic and difficult, but when it’s handled properly produces complex, structured wines of real ageing potential and savoury appeal.


Carbone Fiano 2010 Basilicata
Lovely ripe white peach fruit on the nose. The palate is fresh and vibrant but also subtly nutty, with precise pear and white peach fruit. 90/100

Carbone Aglianico del Vulture ‘400 Some’ 2007 Basilicata
Mostly from 25 year old vines, but with some fruit from older vines. Brooding, spicy, mineral nose with a nice savoury edge. The palate is savoury and elegant with some earthy notes under the cherry fruit, and it has a nicely sour edge to it. Brilliant wine with a nice mineral finish. 93/100

Carbone Aglianico del Vulture ‘Stupor Mundi’ 2007 Basilicata
This is a bit of a monster, but a nice one. Made from an old clone with very thick skins, this is distinctive, savoury and intense, with notes of earth, spicy, cherry and beetroot on the nose. The palate is dense, firm and grippy with savoury earth and spice notes. Very tannic and almost austere, but with real complexity. 93/100

UK availability: these wines are stocked by Berry Bros & Rudd

See also:

The wines of COS, Sicily
Mount Etna tasting

Wines tasted 09/11  
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