“You know Claudio, back in the day in Molise farmers used to grow Tintilia” said the agronomist Michele Tanno in 1990. And that’s how the beautiful love story between Claudio Cipressi and Tintilia started.
Scarcely productive and difficult to farm, this unique variety of Molise only existed in folk stories of old farmers until the 20th century. Claudio was extremely intrigued by this grape and started searching for it among the forgotten local crops, and after selecting the best and most probable vines, finally planted his vineyard in 1998. After submitting the grape to the attention of the University of Molise, Tintilia was genetically analyzed, confirmed as a unique indigenous variety, and in 2001 was ultimately recorded on the National Registry. Before Claudio was able to build his own cantina he sold the grapes to one of the few wineries in Molise at the time (Di Majo Norante) which released the first bottle of 100% Tintilia – nowadays there are about 15 producers.
Since 2003 Claudio owns his winery in San Felice on 15 hectares of land, 12.5h of which are Tintilia along with a smattering of Trebbiano Molisano, Falanghina, and Montepulciano. He firmly believes in organic farming, low yields and high quality production. The vineyards are all located around the estate, at about 550m above sea level, looking at the Adriatic Sea. The soils vary from yellow tufo, to clay, to marine sediments and limestone. The small plots are vinified separately and, based on their expression, are blended and aged into different cuvées.
Tintilia has an intriguingly spicy and red fruit profile, with a medium-full body that is vibrantly juicy and yet not very tannic. Cipressi’s cooler climate expression of Tintilia shows saline and savory notes that add complexity to this enjoyable wine.