The Basilicata region in southern Italy is located between two major wine regions, Puglia to the east and Campania to the west. This lesser-known wine region produces nearly 50 million litres of wine per year and covers 10,000 hectares, making it one of the smallest wine regions in Italy.
The history of this wine region dates back to ancient Greece. And since the Greeks first planted vines here in the 7th century BCE, the culture of winegrowing has continued in the hills of Materane. While the region got its first controlled designation of origin, DOC Aglicanico del Vulture, in 1971, the viticultural development of Basilicata has been quite slow. The region really started to flourish only around 15 years ago. It is now home to three new DOC’s, certified in 2003, 2005 and 2009. A DOCG (designation of controlled and guaranteed origin) was also created in 2010. The DOCG Aglianico del Vulture comes from the DOC Aglianico del Vulture Superiore.
Basilicata is one of the most mountainous regions of Italy. The terroir of the region is mainly characterised by the volcanic lands around Mount Vultur, an extinct volcano in the centre of the province of Potenza. At its feet and on its slopes lies the largest wine-growing area of the region, classified under the DOC and DOCG Aglianico del Vulture. The vines are perched on mountains and hills, which are truly characteristic of Basilicata. The vines, planted between 400 and 600 metres above sea level, still enjoy a mild climate. The vineyards receive plenty of sunshine here, as well as cool breezes from the Balkans, which regulate the temperature.
In this region, native Italian grape varieties are quite numerous. And while Aglianico is king, Primitivo, Sangiovese and Montepulciano are also particularly well established in the region. There is also some Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. These grape varieties are cultivated on the terroirs of other DOC and IGP appellations, such as DOC Terre dell’Alta Val d´Agri and IGP Basilicata. Thanks to these great names, the future of Basilicata looks very promising. The DOCG Aglianico del Vulture, for example, produces some of the best wines in Italy.
Depending on appellation regulations, the wines made in Basilicata sport many different styles. The DOC Terre dell’Alta Val d´Agri produces reserved, age-worthy red wines and rosé wines. DOC Matera produces three red wines, two white wines and one sparkling wine.
The wines of Aglianico, the flagship grape of the region, offer a robust structure and very present tannins.