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Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Molise, after the Valle d’aosta, Italy’s smallest and least populated region, is a mountainous area situated south of abruzzo in the south east of Italy just north of puglia. Impoverished by a continuous emigration of manpower for almost a century, the region has only 5,152 ha/12,730 acres of vineyards of which a mere tenth is devoted to doc wine production. Production is almost entirely in the hands of co-operative wineries, which sell much of the wine in bulk.

The proximity of Abruzzo—to which the Molise was joined administratively until the 1960s—has left its mark on Molise’s viticulture: the two predominant vine varieties are montepulciano d’Abruzzo and trebbiano d’Abruzzo. There have been attempts to diversify, however, with the planting of grape varieties from southern Italy, especially neighbouring Campania, such as fiano, greco di tufo, and aglianico. international varieties have also been planted. The region has one overarching DOC, Molise, and three other DOCs within it: Biferno, Pentro d’Isernia, and Tintilia del Molise. While this last is based on one of the very few indigenous varieties of any commercial significance in Molise (and which may only be planted in vineyards of at least 200 m elevation), all other DOCs are catch-all denominations based on Trebbiano Toscano and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and including varietal bottlings, notably of Cabernet Sauvignon and Aglianico.