Tintilia, A Gem Grown in Molise

In March the Italian Food, Wine & Travel group (#ItalianFWT) is exploring the southern regions of the Basilicata, Campania and Molise.

While all three regions are fascinating, Molise is the one that gets the least love. It’s signature grape variety Tintilia is my focus today. Tintilia grows exclusively in Molise on the Italian peninsula. It is a low yielding grape and for a time, it almost became extinct because so few people were growing it. However in the 1990s, thanks to some producers who were focused on this particular variety, it has made a comeback.

Origins of the grape:

The origins of the grape are still not 100% agreed upon. Some swear it is indigenous to Molise and have University research to back that up but others say it is actually a grape from Spain. Atillio Scienza, the Italian authority on grape genetics told me this latter version a few years ago. I have found Tintilia wines grown in mainland Spain but also in the Canary Islands.

We know that Molise was under the control of the Spanish before Italian Unification in 1861 during the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. Molise after unification was part of what were known as Le Abruzzi. That lasted until 1963, so fairly recently.

Tintilia DOC and Consortium:

In 2011, it garnered its own DOC, Tintilia del Molise DOC. Many hope that one day this grape will become Molise’s first DOCG wine.The Tintilia DOC doesn’t have too many regulations but one that it does have is that Tintilia must be grown at over 200 meters above sea level, since Molise is very mountainous and hilly, this is not a problem.In 2017, a consortium for Tinitalia DOC was created by seven producers to promote this variety which included Palazzo Livio, Cantine Catabbo, Cianfagna, Salvatore Pasquale, Claudio Cipressi, D’Uva Angelo and La Cantina di Remo

Tintilia Profile:

Tintilia del Molise produces deep ruby red wines that are full bodied with considerable tannins and alcohol. It tends to produce spicy, pepper noted wines with black fruit. I liked it and found that it retains that Italian bitter note on the finish. It’s got a lot of tannin and depending on the producer can be more or less elegant or rustic.

Here’s a link to wine-searcher with a list of wines made with Tintilia available in the USA. This is a grape variety to get to know and to add to your ever growing list of Italian indigenous grapes.

Join the rest of our Italian food and wine loving group and read their stories about the Basilicata, Molise and Campania wine regions this weekend.


  1. This is a variety that I don’t believe I have ever tasted. I love discovering new wines, and Italy most certainly has plenty to discover! Thanks for the insights!

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