Italy: Basilicata

Basilicata, in southern Italy, is a region whose name crops up only very rarely in wine circles. It is home to just four DOCs, which collectively cover only two bottles in every hundred produced here, while the remaining 98% is sold either under IGT titles or - more likely - Vino da Tavola.

Geological features of the region include the volcanic Monte Vulture and the seismic faults in the area. Much of the region was devastated in an 1857 earthquake. More recently, there was another major earthquake in 1980. The combination of the mountainous terrain combined with the rock and soil types makes landslides prevalent.

Winemaking in Basilicata dates back over a thousand years. While in central and northern Italy it was the Etruscans and Romans who pioneered local winemaking, in the south this task was largely undertaken by seafaring Greeks. Basilicata was also influenced by the Byzantines, who ruled the area during two distinct periods in both the 6th and 9th centuries and gave the region its current name from Greek basilikos, meaning prince and governor.

Basilicata may not be a particularly affluent region, yet it is rich in natural beauty. Predominantly landlocked, with the Ionian Sea on one side and the Tyrrhenian Sea on the other, it features stunning mountain and hill ranges. In fact it is one of the most mountainous regions in Italy.

Compared to the rest of Italy, the total wine production in Basilicata is very small.


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