Tintilia Del Molise: A Surprising DOC Devoted To Red And Rosé Wines
Just above Campania and Puglia, there is a wine region people barely know about: Molise. The wine jokers think that the “boundaries” between North and South could be set here. In other words, we believe that we could start talking about Southern Italy right from Molise below.
Apart from knowing that Molise borders Abruzzo to the north, Lazio to the west, Puglia to the south-east, and Campania to the south, you might be interested in knowing that it is in the southeastern part of Italy. There is a small portion of Molise facing the wonderful Adriatic Sea.
After Valle d’Aosta, this is the smallest Italian region. As a result, this has an impact on the amount of wine they produce which is almost the lowest in Italy.
Molise counts only 4 DOCs and 2 IGTs, of which reds and rosés account together for 74% of the total production. Therefore, red wine lovers this Italian wine region can quench your thirst for red wines for very affordable prices.
Apart from Molise DOC, Biferno DOC, and Pentro di Isernia DOC, there is a DOC which entirely devotes to red and rosé wines: Tintilia del Molise. We literally fell in love with this lesser-known wine and we truly want to share our love with all of you guys.
Are you ready to discover a new interesting wine to add to your wine cellar?
The Grape: Tintilia del Molise
First of all, we have to talk about the grape variety used to make this unique DOC.
It seems that Tintilia came from Spain during the Bourbon rule in the middle of the 18th century. The name comes probably from the Spanish word “tinto“, meaning “black”. Although, an etymology based on the Italian “tintore“, meaning “dyer“, for its ability to stain clothes is also possible.
Not to confuse with “Bovale Grande” (aka Mazuelo or Carignan) on Sardegna. Recent DNA investigation confirmed that it is also different from the obscure varieties such as “Tintilia” in Campania and even “Tintilia De Rota” from Spain (Reale et al., 2006). The same study found that “Tintilia del Molise” is relatively close to the Spanish “Parraleta“. Therefore, an Iberian origin can’t be excluded.
- Mid to late-ripening;
- Vigorous clusters;
- High tannin levels;
- Medium to high acidity levels;
- High alcohol content;
- Susceptible to botrytis bunch rot, downy, and powdery mildews;
- Highly resistant to drought;
The DOC, Its Styles, And The Best Producers
The DOC was created in 2011, so was the last one to be added to the Molise wine heritage, which is unfortunately underestimated by many people and wine lovers.
|Tintilia del Molise||min 95% Tintilia del Molise|
max 5% Other grape varieties allowed in Molise
|Riserva = 24 Months of aging|
There are two possible styles to find out there. The red version, with the Riserva as well, and the rosé one.
The red wines appear ruby dark in color and the nose is dominated by primary aromas. They usually display aromas of red and black fruits, while the aged wines may develop spicy aromas of licorice, coffee, cocoa, and black pepper. Juicy and aromatic, the wines are typically full-bodied, with well-structured tannins, good acidity, and quite high alcohol content. We could compare Tintilia del Molise DOC to Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG.
On the other hand, the rosé version is more thirst-quenching. Crispy, fresh, and flowery-driven, this wine is perfect to be paired with cured meat and light cheeses. For comparison’s sake, we would compare these rosé to Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo. They are quite different from the rosé wines you might be used to drinking as the tannin levels are a bit higher. Hence, it is good to serve it and drink with higher temperatures (we recommend 10-12°), so that the tannins will not be enhanced.
The wine jokers’ recommendations:
Claudio Cipressi, the last producer, makes both red and rosé versions. We truly recommend tasting them together so that you can understand how much the vinification processes can impact and change the flavor and style of the same grape variety.
We bet the majority of you have never heard about Tintilia del Molise as a grape variety and DOC. For sure its wines aren’t the most priced and sought-after among the Italian reds, but as wine lovers and Sommeliers we truly believe that this wine deserves a better “treatment”.
Unfortunately, there is (and perhaps there will always be) the misconception that a good bottle of wine has to cost around 20-25£ (around 30€) to be remarkable. However, it is difficult (almost impossible for our humble experience) to drink a Tintilia DOC that is more expensive than 18£.
We are ready to bet that even wine experts would be mistaking this DOC with the best red Italian wines. Maybe we should make the same experiment that the British wine expert Steven Spurrier made in 1976. He organized the famous blind tasting in which Californian Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays became famous all over the world. In fact, that day nine French judges thought to be drinking reds from Bordeaux and whites from Burgundy rather than American wines.
Perhaps, as Italians, we should do the same and give credit to Tintilia DOC and the other underrated unique products we have. We are ready to prove that “going blind” is not always a bad thing… it can also lead to wonderful surprises.