Situated in southern Italy, Basilicata’s wine production is small compared to the more prominent regions. It is however among one of the oldest regions with a viticultural vocation in Italy. for the most part it’s a mountainous region flanked by Calabria and Campania to the west and Puglia to the east.
If you love nature, Basilicata is the place to be and your desire for the sea, mountains, green, winter and snow will be rewarded. And of course, don’t forget to stop and visit Sassi di Matera. In 2019 the city was awarded “city of culture” which drew international attention.
The viticulture in Basilicata has been widely spread since the roman times. Described by Latin writers such as Marziale, Pliny, Strabone, Virgilio, who testified to an evolved winemaking culture in the area from 7th century BC. The poet Horace, originally from Venosa, Vulture, celebrates in his poems the qualities of his homeland's wines.
Production areas of Basilicata
We can identify three distinct wine areas in Basilicata: Vulture, Val d'Agri and the area of Matera, with the hilly regions that slope down towards the Ionian Sea. The climate is determined by these high altitudes and its continental weather influenced by its position near the Mediterranean Sea.
Paired with its high mountains, and steep hilly countryside, Basilicata’s soils are mostly of a calcareous origin soil. On the volcanic soils nearby Mount Vulture, we find the most prestigious appellation dedicated exclusively from Aglianico grape variety, called Aglianico del Vulture DOC.
Discover the great local fruity wines
We find that the closer to the area of Matera DOC, 300m above sea level the area is inundated with clayey-sandy soils full of marine sediments. Summers are hot, dry and characterized by intense temperatures, which are particularly favourable for the whites Greco and Malvasia, but also produce structured reds from Primitivo and Sangiovese.
Matera DOC produces great expressions of Primitivo which are cultivated in the region prior to Primitivo di Manduria and Gioia del Colle.
It gives wines a more restrained and fresh style than the other two and it can be vinified in as a single variety for red, rose’, sparkling and passito or in a blend with Sangiovese in Matera rosso DOC and with international grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in Matera Moro DOC.
From the same appellation you can also enjoy wonderful whites from Greco and Malvasia Bianca di Basilicata. From the Malvasia di Basilicata producers are often releasing sparkling wines and sweeter versions.
Aglianico del Vulture - all there is to know
Aglianico del Vulture is the actual regional signature variety. It covers more than half of the vineyard area and represents 90% of the production of DOP and IGP wines. It was discovered that its vines were already known from the times of Magna Graecia where the Romans called the wine Ellenico. Its particular characteristics derive from soils rich in potassium and many minerals thanks to the Vulture, an extinct volcano.
Vineyards here are found in narrow valleys and on plains between the mountains. Three rivers crisscross Roussillon: Agly, Têt and Tech. All-together this defines a very diverse topography in the Roussillon region and with that many unique terroirs, each with its own specific characteristics.
Have you ever heard about the “Nebbiolo” of the south?
Aglianico is often called by wine lovers the “Nebbiolo” of the south thanks to its fruitful complexity, acidity levels and firm tannic structure which grants the wines a long life. In the Aglianico del Vulture DOC wine lovers can enjoy great dry and off-dry reds, but also lively sparkling wines which are ruby red in colour, fruit forward and made in either brut or extra dry styles.
Do you know which is the only DOCG from Basilicata?
The only DOCG of Basilicata is Aglianico del Vulture Superiore which is only released as dry, but has a longer aged version in the Riserva. The wines from both appellations are bold, powerful, deeply coloured and often need aging on wood.
The premium wines are complex, full bodied, and usually with high tannins and acidity. To soften the tannins the producers are increasingly using French oak barrique, which can add spiciness and sweet vanilla flavours. Most of the wines are capable of long aging and may be enjoyed up to 10-20 years later.
“Generazione Vulture” is the project of eight young friends and producers from the area, who united their forces and together have engaged in spreading the word about the Aglianico del Vulture, its high quality and potential in producing amazing and long-lasting wines.
Discover the local cuisine
Basilicata is easy to pair because Aglianico firm tannins ask for savoury meat: white, but even better red. You may want to serve it with grilled meats, game or baked pies with lamb and potatoes. Another great “must try” while you are visiting is Aglianico with aged cheeses like a good Lucanian caciocavallo.
Though don’t forget the homemade pasta, Strascinati or Macaroni with meat sauce and Cacioricotta, or Cavatelli with Sarconi beans which work wonderfully with the reds. The traditional biscuits of the region with almonds, walnuts or sweet pancakes with cinnamon often match perfectly with a sweet sparkling Moscato del Vulture.
Rich and complex Aglianico del Vulture wines. Easy to drink, young with soft and velvety red tannins. Refreshing whites and rose’.What are the most popular grape varieties in Basilicata?
Aglianico del Vulture is the most represented grape variety. But you will also discover Primitivo and Sangiovese as reds and Greco and Malvasia among whites.What types of food works well with wines from Basilicata?
Light reds: pizza, salmon with cedar boards or a platter of cold cuts. Full-bodied reds: to be paired with dry ribs, stuffed aubergines or grilled pork and rosemary. White wines: salmon, seafood or fish and chips.