Introducing the Exciting Wines of Vinica from Molise

8/10/17 -

Vinica Bottles Wine Italy

Of the many Italian wine regions I've had the chance to explore, the wines of Molise have remained a bit of a mystery to me.  Molise is a small and extremely mountainous region south of Abruzzo that is often absent from wine lists and in reference materials about Italian wine. Everything that I had read led me to believe that this was a region still dominated by co-ops making wine for local consumption rather than the international market; so when I first tasted the wines of Vinica I was taken aback. The wines were excellent: well-balanced, showing a lively character and focus. They are clearly wines of a unique place, unforced and exhibiting an undeniable confidence in the potential of their land.

The estate was founded in 2008 by Rodolfo Gianserra with a mission to restore a large parcel of abandoned land high in the hills of Molise, north of Campobasso. The project is ambitious, covering 220 hectares of primarily forest and pasture but also olive groves, vegetable plots, and about 22 hectares of vines. Much of the land has been replanted to forest (including formerly productive farm land) with native tree species in order to encourage biodiversity on the rest of the property. Rodolfo began planting vines in 2009 with the philosophy in mind that "wine is made in the vine." The vines are situated between 550 and 750 meters above sea level, planted at low density (to lend concentration), and have been organically farmed from the outset. Grapes are always hand harvested, fermented with native yeast without temperature control in stainless steel, and bottled without filtration or fining.

Both of the wines included in today’s offer are wonderful, but for me the most exciting wine from Vinica is their Tintilia: the traditional red variety of the area that was neglected in favor of more productive grapes and only revived in the mid 1990's. The Vinica 2013 Tintilia is a vibrant wine showing a mix of intense red fruit, delicate floral tone, and an earthy finish with a lifted structure that lends itself to a light chill. Not only are they bottling a great Tintilia, but they are also working with the University of Molise producing micro-vinifications to help better understand the variety.

There is clearly more to be discovered about the region of Molise and I don’t think there is a better place to start than with the wines of Vinica. Please join us in tasting the exemplary wines of Vinica and exploring the terroir of Molise with Rodolfo Gianserra at Chambers Street Wines this evening from 5 - 7 pm.

- Andy Paynter


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