GROTTINO DI ROCCANOVA is the most southerly wine region in Basilicata. It was classified IGT from 2000-2008, and DOC from 2009+. The production zone covers Sant’Arcangelo, Castronuovo di Sant’Andrea and Roccanova. These three communes in Potenza (PZ) province occupy a hilly area in the southern Apennine mountains formed in the middle Pleistocene. Altitudes vary from 280 metres (920 feet) along the valley of the Agri river in Sant’Arcangelo to 910 metres (2,985 feet) on the peak of Corneta in Castronuovo di Sant’Andrea.
HISTORY The ‘grottino’ part of the name derives from the grottos found on the periphery of Roccanova itself. These were hewn into the local (tufa) rock in the 1600s and are still used today for their original purpose of aging the wines. Historians appear confident that Pliny the Elder’s citation in his Naturalis Historia of an “excellent” wine called “Lagarini” refers to wines from the town of Lagaria, now in the territory of Roccanova.
WINEGROWING Around 220 hectares (543 acres) of vines are in production. Maximum yields are 8 tonnes per hectare. Irrigation is permitted in exceptional circumstances. The following place names (‘frazioni’) or territorial sub-divisions may appear on the label: Marchese, Calvello, Calderano, Cersinto, Capolevigne, Muragna, Alzagamba, Sant’Iorio, Cerasa, Montagnola, Nice, Norce, Rosano, Sanpaolo, Viridario, Spadarea, Terzo e Orsoleo.
WINES Grottino di Roccanova Bianco is made from a minimum 80% Malvasia Bianca with upto 20% non-aromatic white grapes. It can be frizzante, amabile or passito. Minimum 11% alcohol. Both Grottino di Roccanova Rosato and Rosso can be frizzante or amiable and are made from the same potential blend: 60–85% Sangiovese, 5–30% Cabernet Sauvignon, Malvasia Nera di Basilicata or Montepulciano, and 0-10% any other red grapes allowed in Basilicata. Minimum alcohol levels are 11.5% for Rosato, 12% for Rosso, 13% for Rosso Riserva.
TOURISM The region’s annual wine festival called ‘Spertusavotte’ takes place on 8th December.