Practically every major region in Italy can place some of its traditions and history with the industry of winemaking. The drink is such an important part of Italian culture that it is not surprising that many regions pride themselves on providing the best Italian wine and that entire local economies are based on wine production.
One of the regions that may be a little lesser known to wine lovers is the Basilicata region. While certainly not one of the more prominent regions when it comes to wine production, it is known for a famous wine named Aglianico del Vulture that is one of the more well-regarded red wines to come out of the country.
With that in mind we thought we would take a brief look at the region and, in particular, one of the best wineries to be located there.
Basilicata is located in Southern Italy, practically in the centre of the famous boot that makes up the bottom part of the country. It currently has a population of around 600,000 people and, over the years, has been under the control of a number of different rulers. Today its main industry is probably agriculture, owing to the richness of the land, which also means that vineyards and wine making are popular in the region.
The area has actually been habitable for many thousands of years, with archaeological evidence demonstrating that early humans lived there, from the Palaeolithic Age all the way through to the Bronze Age. The area played host to market communities and large villages, which even then valued the land for its agricultural properties.
However, in the late 8th century BC the area began to change into something closer resembling what it is today thanks to the arrival of Greek colonists. They began to bring their specific brand of culture to the region, often getting rid of the previous village structure in the process.
The region adopted its first proper name of Lucania, named after an Osco-Samnite population from the centre of the country. The area was settled by Greek fugitives, who essentially ended up using it as a base from which they continued to conquer the entire coastline.
However, the era of the Lucanians was not to last, as they encountered the Romans towards the tail end of the 4th century BC.
The Middle Ages
Roman rule in the region lasted for a number of centuries, but it eventually fell under Germanic control before ending up with the Byzantine Empire. During this period the region never had much stability, as Saracen raiding parties led to many of the residents fleeing to the hills for protection, alongside other influences coming into play.
It eventually fell, once again, under the control of the Byzantine Empire in the late 9th century, however, it wasn’t long before further unrest led to the region coming under the control of the Normans before switching hands a few more times.
Through it all, the general population of the area never managed to enjoy the economic prosperity that such rich farmland should otherwise have promised them. This continued when the region became part of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and was also not remedied when it declared its own annexation to the united Italy, as wealthy landowners still controlled the majority of the region.
An opposition movement was put in place against the nobility and new state, leading to yet more unrest in the region that continued all the way into World War II.
Finally, the region began to deliver on more of its promise following the war, thanks in part to land reform that allowed farmers to better benefit from what they were producing. However mass emigration a few years later led to further issues.
In the modern era the region has recovered and reached a level of stability that it has rarely enjoyed. The local economy is much better than it has been in the past and local trades are combining with multi-national companies, such as Fiat, to provide jobs and a better lifestyle for the population.
Cantine del Notaio
Throughout all of that history, the region managed to maintain some presence in the world of viticulture, but never so much as to influence the development of the region or to gain prominence on either the domestic or international levels.
That is slowly changing thanks to the work of wine companies such as Cantine del Notaio. Who are dedicated to bring the region’s Aglianico del Vulture to the masses.
Winemaking had been in the blood of the Giuratrabocchetti for decades before the creation of Cantine del Notaio, but it wasn’t until 1998 that the estate was truly born and began to dedicate itself to creating truly great Italian wines.
Combining their education with a passion for innovation and quality, Gerardo Giuratrabocchetti, and his wife Marcella worked with famed enology professor Luigi Moio to work on the grapes grown at the vineyards in an effort to create truly extraordinary wines that are as rewarding to the drinker as they are to the company.
It would be fair to say that they have succeeded and, in just a few short years, the winery has managed to establish Aglianico del Vulture as one of the truly great Italian red wines.
Amongst the most critically acclaimed variants of the wine is the Cantine del Notaio Aglianico del Vulture Il Sigillo 2009, which has received positive reviews from practically everybody who has ever had the privilege of drinking it.
The wine is an elegant drink that also reflects the amount of work that has been put into its creation. Its unmistakable aroma makes it a joy to behold before the rich and complex taste completes the sensation.
The wine is best enjoyed, like many other red wines, with more structured dishes. In particular it goes well with a variety of meats and richer cheeses that it will not be able to overpower. It also works well with chocolate-based desserts, marking it out as one of the more versatile red wines in the world.