THE SECRET WINE REGION
There's a joke in Italy that Molise doesnt exist :)
It's a hidden gem ... an untouched and authentic spot in Italy, south of Abruzzo.
In fact, it's almost still a secret and one that you can now explore right here in Singapore!
For this week only - until Sunday 6 March - we have a 10% discount on the wines of Cianfagna, Molise.
Simply use the code SECRET at checkout to save 10% on any wine from the Cianfagna estate, or their partner company Centro Tartufi Molise.
Italy's best kept secret?
On Italy's eastern coast, below Abruzzo where Montepulciano grapes thrive and above Apulia where the Primitivo (Zinfandel) vines reign, is the little-known region of Molise.
Molise, the region, is almost a fairytale. An article on the BBC explains more about its obscurity within Italy. The phrase "Molise doesnt exist" even went viral - with the hashtag #ilmolisenonesiste.
Even less well known than the region, are the grapes and wines of Molise.
One in particular - TINTILIA - is a stunning secret just waiting to be found!
Cianfagna of Molise
In a picturesque area of Molise, the second smallest region of Italy, is a winery specialising in one exquisite local grape.
The cellar of Cianfagna focusses on a single, high quality wine that offers an authentic and delicious taste of southern Italy through the endemic Tintilia grape.
This small winery, in this small region, defies its diminutive stature by making a powerful statement about native Italian wine.
VINES AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE
Vineyards seem to cover the entire Italian peninsula and the rolling hills of Molise are no exception.
Generations of artisanal winemakers at Cianfagna have been loyal custodians of the local agricultural techniques.
The current Cianfagna family continues the work of their forefathers, tending the “healthy and natural landscape, where the work in the fields is marked by colours, scents and long silences.”
The Cianfagna winery are proud to bring international attention to their local wine and believe their success is due to the estate’s main ingredients “passion and dedication”.
Sator, the main wine of Cianfagna, is a rich, warm red that will be a big hit with fans of Aglianico, Merlot, Primitivo (Zinfandel). Pair with rich tomato-based pasta sauces, or lamb, or even a juicy steak.
The winery says Sator is "our most famous wine. It is produced with only mostofiore* of Tintilia. The taste is warm, enveloping, full and balanced. Typical aromas are of ripe fruit, ranging from cherry to blackberry. This is a large pairing wine."
* mostofiore is the best squeezed juice from pressed grapes, produced before the skins and the pulp will be further squeezed to obtained the remaining juice.
Pietrafitta is another expression of the rare Tintilia grape. Compared to Sator, it is a more tannic expression, perfect with really rich dishes, like a pepper-crusted steak.
"From the soft pressing of the Tintilia's skins we create the Pietrafitta wine. It presents a masculine character, strong and complex. The long aging process makes it balanced, highlighting its spicy notes," says the winery.
The Gran Maestro is a very rare wine, made only in exceptional years, boasting very limited production. Each bottle has a hand written note of the bottle number (out of total 2,600 bottles produced).
This wine is rich, opulent, smooth and overall a complete delight. In the glass, it shows lots of black fruit, with liquorice and hints of pepper. I love the balance of vegetal and fruit notes. Try with duck a l'orange (if not too sweet), or enjoy it on its own at the end of the meal - to really savour it.
The winery says Gran Maestro "is produced only in exceptional vintages with Tintilia grapes harvested late. The wine rest in steel and continues its aging in wood casks. It has a full, enveloping and complex taste, elegantly spicy".
Molise is also a great climate for ripening the better-known red variety AGLIANICO.
You may have come across this as a full-bodied wine of Campania (especially from Taurasi) or Basilicata (especially from Mount Vulture). For many wine lovers it's considered (with Sangiovese and Nebbiolo) to be one of the three greatest Italian varieties - although of course there are many other grapes that could claim a top spot too.
Aglianico has been called the Barolo of the South for its ageing potential. We certainly agree that an aged Aglianico can be a real treat, so we are delighted to still stock some of Cianfagna's stunning 2008 vintage of MILITUM CHRISTI. You can also compare this to the 2009 vintage and we would certainly recommend laying down some 2009 to enjoy over the coming years - as it continues to develop.
Still not sure which wine to try next?
Don't hesitate to contact me for personal recommendations and advice.