The landscape is very mountainous, except for the coastal areas and the regional capital, Potenza, has the lowest annual average temperature of all Italian regional capitals. It’s in these mountains that we find the wine that made Basilicata a little known among the most curious wine aficionados: Aglianico del Vulture, where Aglianico is the name of the variety of grape (which we also know from Campania), and Vulture is the name of the volcano, whose mountainsides provide a soil for the vineyards.

The Vulture is said to be inactive, but Basilicata lies in an active earthquake zone, where the last major earthquake occurred in 1980 and parts of the region (and parts of Campania too) still suffer from its effects. In 1980 there was talk of just a single producer in Basilicata, Fratelli d’Angelo, who was the first to bottle his wine, and this cantina is who Basilicata has to thank being known as a wine producing region.

Fortunately in the last decade there have been a dozen or more producers who have dedicated themselves totally to the Aglianico grape variety, which is just as rigid and has an equally closed nose as the one from Campania, but more pronounced tannins. This is a wine that requires patience, and if you have enough discipline to wait for the Aglianico del Vulture to be 8 to 10 years old, then there is a fair chance that you will have a great experience in a glass.

Basilicata has had two new DOCs since the turn of the millennium to complement Aglianico del Vulture, but it’s the two IGT wines, named Basilicata IGT and Grottina di Rocca Nova whose bottles are more in demand. In these IGT zones they experiment with international grape varieties, and some parts of the IGT areas border with Apulia, so you can rediscover some of the southeastern Italian grape varieties such as Primitivo. The best IGT vineyards are located in warmer cl imates than the one around the Vulture, and the wines have a much more approachable character.

Regional capital: Potenza
Population: 587.517
Area (km2): 9.994,61
Wine production: 125.000 hl
Important DOCs/DOCGs:
Aglianico del Vulture DOC; Matera DOC; Terre dell’Alta Val d’Agri DO.
Most important grape varieties:
Aglianico, Greco.