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Basilicata

Basilicata may be one of the most structurally weak regions in Italy, but the wines that grow on the slopes of long-extinct volcano Monte Vulture are so good that they are praised as the "Barolos of the South".

Geography

The region nestles between Campania in the north, Apulia and Calabria. Only a narrow strip borders the Tyrrhenian Sea, while the southern coast lies on the Ionian. Basilicata is also known for the cave dwellings (Sassi) in the historic town of Matera. They are described in Carlo Levi’s book “Christ Stopped at Eboli”, and they served as settings for the film “The Passion of the Christ” with Jim Caviezel. The Sassi of Matera are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With about 10,000 hectares under vines, Basilicata is one of Italy's smaller wine regions. The region's only DOC area is Aglianico del Vulture in the extreme north. There are two IGT areas, Grottino di Roccanova and Lucania.

Terroir

The DOC area covers 400 hectares on the fertile volcanic soils of Monte Vulture. The vines are at altitudes of 400 to 600 metres, which ensures cool night temperatures when the grapes are ripening. The fine fruit aromas of the Aglianico grape are preserved by the temperature differential between day and night.

Varieties

The Greeks planted the first vines in Basilicata in the 6th century BC. The most important relic of this time is the jet-black Aglianico grape. Aleatico, Bombino nero, Ciliegiolo, Malvasia nera and Sangiovese are other important red varieties, while white varieties include Bombino bianco, Fiano, Moscato and Trebbiano.

Style

Aglianico del Vulture is often praised as the "Barolo of the South". Rightly so: the wines are concentrated and powerful, but never sweet or over-extracted. Dark fruit aromas such as blackberry and elder dominate, along with herbaceous notes, ripe, well-integrated acidity, and strong tannin from the thick skins of the Aglianico grape.

Best age for drinking

2-3 years for white wines from Fiano and Trebbiano3-5 years for IGT wines5-15 years for luscious Aglianico wines

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