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Basilicata Native Vines – Second Part
Rosa D'Ancona – October 1, 2005



White native vines

  Asprinio
  Asprinio
  Bombino Bianco
  Bombino Bianco
  Aglianico del Vulture
  Aglianico del Vulture
  Aglianicone
  Aglianicone
  Aleatico
  Aleatico
  Malvasia Nera
  Malvasia Nera
   

Asprinio
Thirst-quenching and diuretic, this grape grows in the Ruoti wine zone, and produces a wine that is good with the whole meal. Widely cultivated in the province of Caserta, in the region of Campania, the neighbor to the northwest, this vine is truly ancient. The plant is strong and is cultivated mostly with the "alberata" (tree row) method, which best allows the grape to express its characteristic and produces higher yield. The grapes ripen at the beginning of October, and the bunch is medium-sized with gray-green berries.

Bombino Bianco
This grape variety is somewhat mysterious. There are no unmistakable threads nor is there any known history for this variety, though some believe that it was originally brought over from Spain.

What is certain is that this is one of the most important southern Italian white grapes, especially in the neighboring Apulia region to the east. Known also as Trebbiano d'Abruzzo in the region with the same name, this variety produces some truly excellent wines. In Emilia Romagna it is known as "Pagadebit" (from the local dialect "to repay debts") and "Stracciacambiali" (monthly bill annihilator), because of its traditional high yield, which in times past enabled vintners to to repay debts thanks to its large production. The Bombino Bianco is used in various dry, white blends, as well as in passito (made with semi-dry grapes) and late harvest dessert wines.

Malvasia Bianca from Basilicata
The wine produced with this grape is light straw yellow to white, with white, intense, natural foam, deep perfume and pleasant, soft flavor with hints of sweetness.

Red native vines

Aglianico del Vulture
According to researchers the Aglianico grape is about 2,800 years old, as this vine has grown on the Vulture mountains for at least 28 centuries.

The volcanic composition of the soil in the municipalities of the Vulture mountains, where the grapes are grown at 200 to 700 meters elevation, give unique characteristics to these wines, which gained the DOC denomination in 1971. The color is ruby red with purple highlights, intense perfume of wild berries and between 12% to 13.5 percent alcohol. It's best after at least two years of ageing and pairs perfectly with roasted and grilled meat and venison.

Unfortunately, in the past Aglianico was often used as blending wine. The Aglianico Spumante (sparkling) met with good favor in the US in the 1950s, but become hard-to-find after a while. Currently it seems poised for a gradual escalation in the international market.

Nearby the the historic production zone of this grape there's the ancient town of Venosa (a.k.a. as Venusia in ancient times), which is the hometown of Virgil, the ancient philosopher who, in his book "Georgiche", offers an excellent examination of vine-growing in his time.

The grape is used in the following wines:
DOCG Taurasi (minimum 85%),
DOC Falerno del Massico Rosso (60-80%),
DOC Galluccio Rosso (minimum 70%),
DOC Aglianico del Taburno Rosso (minimum 85%),
DOC Sant'Agata dei Goti Rosso (40-60%),
DOC Guardia Sanframondi, or Guardiolo Aglianico (minimum 90%).

Aglianicone
Literally, the name means "big Aglianico". The wine color purple-red, with perfume of wild berries.

Aleatico
The Aleatico is produced as either a long-lived dessert wine, or sparkling wine, with 12% to 14% alcohol, produced with the grape by the same name in the municipalities of Rionero in Vulture, Barile, Melfi, Maschito, Acerenza, Banzi and other areas in the province of Potenza. The wine is garnet red with purplish highlights, intense perfume, and is aromatic and characteristic. To the palate it is soft, velvety and sweet with hints of fresh fruits.

There are different opinions about the origin of this vine. Some believe that it was brought over from Greece, while others think that it arrived from Tuscany.

Bombino Nero
This vine produces big, tight bunches with side clusters. The grapes are big, blue-colored, with thick, consistent skin. It is usually harvested around mid-October.

Ciliegiolo
Red grape of Tuscan origin, the Ciliegiolo gets its name from the characteristic cherry (ciliegia in Italian) aroma and color, it is known also as Ciliegiolo di Spagna (Ciliegiolo from Spain). The true origin is uncertain, though many believe that it was imported to Tuscany from Spain around 1870. The bunches are big, solid and cylindrical, often with side clusters. The grapes are fairly big, roundish and have medium-thick, black-purple skin. It's a truly vigorous vine, with constant, abundant yield and ripens fairly early, around the second half of August. The must produces excellent wines and is excellent in Sangiovese blends, thanks to its softness.

Falerno
The Falerno is a descendant of the Aglianico grape. Imported to the Vulture area in the fifth century B.C. by the Greeks, it's name derives from the vulgarization of the word Ellenico (Greek). The grape produces a typical southern Italian red wine, though it shows an almost Piedmontese character, with rich and complex structure that improves and ripens with ageing.

Malvasia Nera
The name Malvasia derives from Monembasia, a Byzantine stronghold perched on the rocks of a promontory in Greece. The stronghold was connected to the mainland by a single road leading to the main gate of the city whose name, Monembasia, literally meant "a single point of entry".

In 1248, the powerful Venetian Republic established commercial trade with the locals and started distributing the sweet wines produced in the area throughout Europe under the name Monemvasia. In addition, the Venetian ships took the vine to Crete first, and later it was spread throughout Italy, which then promoted its growth in the whole Mediterranean basin. This wine was so popular that, at one point, Venice had a large number of osterie, locally called Malvase, dedicated to this wine variety.

The Malvasia Nera (Black Malvasia) from Basilicata is a sub-variety, and it is believed that it was originally brought from neighboring Apulia. In many ways it is similar to the Malvasia Nera from Brindisi.

Outstanding producers

Cantine del Notaio
Via Roma, 159
85028 Rionero in Vulture (Potenza)
Tel: 0972717111
Fax: 0972717140
Contatta il produttore via e-mail

Label: Rogito Igt Basilicata
(Aglianico grapes)

D'Angelo
Via Provinciale, 8
85028 Rionero in Vulture (Potenza)
Tel: 097272517
Fax: 0972723495
Contatta il produttore via e-mail

Label: Canneto
(Aglianico grapes)

Patermoster
Via Nazionale, 23
85022 Barile (Potenza)
Tel: 0972770224
Fax: 0972770658
Contatta il produttore via e-mail

Label: Barigliott
(Aglianico grapes)



 
 
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