While this latest variety, Malvasia Nera di Basilicata, has some of the same origins as the other Malvasias that I have written about, it is said to be less ancient than the white grape versions of Malvasia. This one probably came to Basilicata from nearby Puglia and has a lot in common with Malvasia di Brindisi which I will write about next week and Malvasia di Lecce. This red grape variety tends to be used as a blending grape rather than as a monovarietal. It brings aromatics, alcohol and acidity to the blend. It grow around the cities of Matera and Potenza. It is part of the Grottino di Roccanova DOC, which was given that designation in 2009. It is blended with Sangiovese, Montepulciano and Cabernet Sauvignon in the DOC. This winery, Cervino Vini has a few different versions of wines made with this grape variety as do a couple of other wineries I found. Sadly, none seem available yet in the States.
I’ve always had a thing about Basilicata. Many people know the region because it is home to the city of Matera, a beautiful city and absolutely worth a visit. I used to say I would never leave Italy unless I got to see Basilicata, a way of course of staying for many years. I finally visited in 2002 and remember fondly my trip there. Having just returned from Vinitaly, I am reminded of all the wines that I have tasted over the years with producers from Basilicata, specifically from Lucania.
Sadly none of my pictures of this region are digital so, here I suggest looking up a movie that came out in the last few years about Basilicata – Basilicata Coast To Coast. It will give you a flavor of the rugged landscape. Some 47% of Basilicata is covered by mountains and it has two coastlines, one on the Ionian Sea and the other on the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Thursday is indigenous grape variety day here at Avvinare. This week’s grape is Bombino Bianco, a white grape variety which grows in Apulia and some other regions surrounding that part of the Italian boot. Bombino Bianco is cultivated both in the area around the city of Bari as well as the Salento, lower down in Apulia near the city of Lecce. This grape variety has many names and is often erroneously called Trebbiano, the most widely planted white grape in Italy. Trebbiano is a distinct grape variety. In fact, sometimes, Bombino Bianco is blended with Trebbiano such as in the San Severo Bianco made by the lovely producer Alberto Longo.
I looked high and wide but could not find an monovarietal wines made from Bombino Bianco to try. I know that some producers do make them but I have never had one. A winery called Cantine Teanum makes one apparently.
There is also a Bombino Nero, which is a red grape variety that grows in the region of Basilicata principally and a bit around the city of Bari in Apulia. Bombino Nero is almost never vinified along but is used as a blending grape with Uva di Troia, Malvasia Nera and Montepulciano. Both of these grapes have no clear origin but some say at least the white comes from Spain initially. Both are extremely productive as well and are sometimes used as table grapes.
Both of these regions are close to my heart. In fact, Basilicata for me was something of a jumping off point or better, an arrival. I always said I couldn’t leave Italy until I visited Basilicata. Then I went and still didn’t leave for three more years. I will have to scan my photos of that beautiful region but suffice it to say that it is still very much as it was centuries ago. There is a great movie that takes place in Basilicata that came out last year called “Basilicata Coast to Coast.” I loved it although some said it was a bit sentimental. The again, so I am.