The surprises of Molise never cease to amaze and its wines are “feminine”; La Tintilia or Tintilia wine is the perfect testament to this harsh and sweet land at the same time. Feminine just like the Barbera of Piedmont.
The name is already a story, in fact it derives from its intense red colour, fruit of a small black grape berry invoking energy. In reality the name is of Spanish origin (tinto = red) because for a long time it was thought that the vine came from the Iberian peninsula. In Molise dialect it is said “a tenteie”.
In France it was even counted among the natural “dyes” such as “Tenturier d’Espagne”, due to its ability to dye everything it touched red. And it was Napoleon’s French who favoured its cultivation in Molise, which had the ideal exposure on its slopes.
Its history reflects that of Molise, during the wine euphoria it seemed to have disappeared to the advantage of more productive vines, then destiny was reversed. It was Pasquale Di Lena (then general secretary of the Wine Show – Enoteca Italiana di Siena and member of the National Wines Committee) to enjoy, with other friends, the awakening of this lost grape variety and the agronomist Michele Tanno who sought it out. Together they promoted its proud return until in 2011 it became a DOC wine, the “Tintilia del Molise”. True wine-making of elegance.
Tintilia is the only indigenous vine of this region and perhaps its roots are truly ancient and come from the proud Samnites, the only ones who withstood the Romans for 3 centuries. Or perhaps it is better to say that viticulture was introduced by the Samnites and Tintilia arrived in the eighteenth century during the Spanish domination of the Bourbons of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
It has honoured the tables of Molise for centuries and then the vineyards were dug up or abandoned due to the thrill of having large vineyard production in the lowlands. However, vines remained around Campobasso, Ferrazzano, Colle d ‘Anchise, Cercemaggiore, Ripalimosani and in some municipalities of the province of Isernia, witnesses of our history and culture and of our traditions.
So Tintilia has resisted and its rebirth ideally corresponds to the rebirth of the inner areas of Molise, the better areas. Tintilia is grown preferably in the sloping terrain of areas at least above 200 meters.
And it took the first crisis of the 1990s to reawaken interest in this grape variety
Its rebirth with awards and achievements is the emblem of the path that the Molisans are making who return to their towns to rediscover their identity, also through wine, and to develop these territories for slow tourism.
Today the Tintilia DOC is found on the shelves of the best wine bars near the great Piedmontese or Friulian wines and it represents an entire region and a beautiful and hospitable territory. And it is awaiting the DOCG recognition which would be the culmination of a journey that has focused on the quality of wine and the recovery of traditions.
Today the Tintilia DOC, the other 3 DOCs (Biferno, Pentro d’Isernia and Molise) and the Molise Oil DOP are absolute excellent Molisan representations appreciated all over the world to combine with the other 4 DOPs of Caciocavallo Silano, mozzarella and buffalo ricotta and Italian salami. Do not forget that we are in the IGP of the Central Calf Apennine and in the region of white truffle and the real Italian Pasta.
I would have other delights to tell but I leave to the reader the desire to discover them by coming to visit as a tourist one of the most authentic regions of Italy. In the meantime I go to enjoy a bite of Pampanella di San Martino in Pensilis with a glass of Tintilia.