The Giannattasio family comes from Barile, in the southern Italian region of Basilicata. They have produced wine from their vineyards on the slopes of the spent volcano Mount Vulture for generations. A treasured heirloom is the above map of the family property, created by the local agrimensore, or land-surveyor, in 1872. The map lists, in detail, the production of Aglianico grapes and olives for that year.
For millennia, the Barile area has been renowned for the production of Aglianico, one of the finest autoctonous grape varieties in Italy. The poet Horace, a native of this area, wrote in eager anticipation of the Aglianico harvest: "Shortly variegated autumn will tinge for thee the livid clusters with a purple hue."
The fruits of the Giannattasio vineyards have always been enjoyed by the family and their friends. Since 2000, the Giannattasio family has produced a limited quantity of fine wines for a discerning Italian and international clientle.
The vineyards cover 10 hectares of volcanic soil at an elevation of 450 meters above sea level.
The vineyards are characterized by the high density of the vines - up to 9,000 vines per hectare. This results in a spontaneous low yield of an exceptionally high quality. The work in the vineyard is organic, almost exclusively manual, and employs the most modern techniques.
The harvest takes place late in the year - at the end of October or beginning of November. The grapes are selected with great care and harvested by hand, using only small crates in order to protect each grape.
This region at the sole of the Italian boot is one of the smallest in Italy, the vineyard area is 10.848 hectares, the capital is Potenza.
The history of viticulture can be traced back to the Phoenicians. The Romans called the region Lucania, and this name is also still used today, apart from Basilicata. The current name is derived from the Byzantine word basilikos, which was a name used for the provincial lords who ruled here in the 9th and 10th century. The hilly highland area has mainly sedimented soils (clay, sandstone and limestone), and there are many rivers flowing through the area. Basilicata is surrounded and enclosed by the three regions Apulia, Calabria and Campania. There are only two relatively short stretches of coastline on the Tyrrhenian and the Ionian seas. The vineyards are divided into many thousands of tiny parcels of land, many less than a hectare in extent. Most of the vineyards are located in river valleys in the East, close to Matera, and on the coastal plain on the Ionian sea around Metaponto. The Greeks planted the predecessor of the currently dominant red grape Aglianico here in the 6th century BC, other important red varieties are Aleatico, Bombino Nero, Ciliegiolo, Malvasia Nera and Sangiovese. The most important white varieties are Asprinio, Bombino Bianco, Fiano, Moscato Bianco and Trebbiano. The only DOC zone is Aglianico del Vulture, located in the extreme north of the region, bordering on Campania. This makes up only around 4% of total production. Two IGT classifications were introduced fairly recently, Grottino di Roccanova and Lucania.
DOC for red wine in the Basilicata region in Italy - it is the only one in the region. The zone includes the communes of Aderenza, Banzi, Barile, Forenza, Genzano di Lucania, Ginestra, Lavello, Maschito, Melfi, Palazzo San Gervasio, Rapolla, Rionero in Vulture, Ripacandida and Venosa in Potenza province. The vineyards are located at an altitude of up to 700 metres above sea level on the slopes of the extinct Monte Vulture volcano, which gave its name to the zone, the vineyard holdings are split among around a thousand small holdings. Wine has been produced here since ancient times, it was served preferentially at aristocratic houses in medieval times. The wine is a pure varietal made from 100% Aglianico, it has a ruby to garnet red colour, and is available in dry (secco) and semi-sweet (amabile) variants. It resembles the Taurasi from Campania, which is the neighbouring region to the North. If aged for three years, it may be called Vecchio, and Riserva if aged for five years. A dry Spumante Naturale is also produced in the region.