For many years, the production of significant wine in the southern Italian region of Basilicata consisted essentially of one wine and one grape: Aglianico del Vulture produced, obviously, from the Aglianico grape. This grape is so important in this area that it well deserves its name of the Barolo of the South; this is because it shares many of the characteristics of the famous red wine from Piedmont (the type of production and flavour) and its importance in this region of Italy is also equal to that of the Piedmont Barolo.
More recently, however, a second pole of production has opened up in the province of Matera in the southwestern part of the Basilicata region. Matera owes its international fame to the “Sassi” part of the town, the only urban agglomeration in Europe that has been inhabited without interruption since prehistoric times. Proclaimed World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the city will be the European Capital of Culture for the year 2019. And the new viticulture that now characterises the zone has many a similarity to that of Puglia as well.
And its finest expression is currently offered by the Parco dei Monaci estate, once part of the Abbey of Montecaglioso. Started by husband and wife Rosa Padula and Matteo Trabacca about a decade ago and re-launched as a producer of fine wine, it has demonstrated, aided as well by the outstanding efforts of consulting oenologist Vincenzo Mercurio, that these wines, with the proper care and competence, are worthy rivals of the best of Puglia, whose important Primitivo grape, first identified in nearby Gioia del Colle in the late 18th century, is of fundamental importance in this area as well. Both the warm and rich Primitivo-based red wine and the fragrant and elegant rosé Rosato di Matera show the classic personality of the grape and, in addition, an admirable balance and expressiveness. And Spaccasassi, a blend of Primitivo and both Cabernet and Merlot, is something entirely new and excellent in the regional panorama.