Molise is much more than a 'borderland', as it's too often described. Here is the story of the region's wine culture.
We repeat, ‘Molise exists’, despite the ceaseless taunts, here it is. The most attentive and curious wine lovers know it, those who choose to seek out the less-traveled roads of wine tourism. And what they discover is a region that is mostly uncontaminated, proudly bound to its rural roots, with all the biodiversity, environmental wholesomeness and beauty that follow. It’s much more than a ‘borderland’ (as it’s too often described). On the one hand you can’t deny the influence of the surrounding regions in terms of topography, climate and ampelography (not to mention culture, traditions and even gastronomy). On the other, it doesn’t take much to recognize how the region’s communities maintain their own specific, unmistakable identity. And this inevitably singles out its most highly prized wines. And so it is that we get Montepulciano and Aglianico reds and rosés that are so distinct from their equivalents in Abruzzo, Campania and Puglia. And then there’s their interpretations of Falanghina, Greco, Trebbiano and Malvasia accompanied by international cultivar like Sauvignon and Chardonnay. At times they may exhibit a Mediterranean character, at times that of the mountains, they can more or less territorial, carefree or technically rigorous. But it’s Tintilia that has come to truly represent the region, having found in Molise the perfect territory when it comes to the grape’s originality and character. And we have a perfect example in Di Majo Norante’s version of the wine, with a 2016 that for the umpteenth time proves to the be the only producer in the region capable of taking home Tre Bicchieri. But in the first group of honorable mentions, there’s a number of important wineries who’ve shown notable progress, like Borgo di Colloredo, Claudio Cipressi and Tenimenti Grieco. And right behind them there’s a small group of cooperatives and private producers whose offerings are increasingly well-defined and personal (not to mention affordable). In short, it’s a region made up of a team of winemakers who continue to consolidate their reputation and identity, and we’re sure that it wouldn’t be disingenuous to imagine that things will only get better.
Molise Tintilia ’16 – Di Majo Norante