Friday, March 3, 2023

A Glimpse into Molise with Tombacco Biferno Rosso Riserva

We start off March with our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group (#ItalianFWT) as we take on the southern regions of the Basilicata, Campania and MoliseIt makes sense to group these three regions together as they have some similarities between them in landscapes and terroirs that I’ll explore more as I feature them individually throughout the monthThis week’s feature is the region of Molise and the Tombacco winery. 

The Region - Molise

Molise is the second smallest region in Italy behind the Valle d’Aosta region in northern Italy. It used to be part of the Abruzzo region, known as Abruzzi e Molise, until 1963. Overshadowed by the prominence of its neighboring wine regions, Molise is small in terms of annual wine production. There are 4 DOCs in Molise, but they only account for about 4% of the overall production. These DOCs include Bifernno, Tintilia del Molise, Molise, and Pentro d’Isernia. 

A large amount of Molise’s terrain is mountainous stemming from the southern Appennines. Inland, the climate is more continental with cold winters and warm summers with snow abound in the mountain ranges. Along the coastline of the Adriatic the climate is more Mediterranean and mild.  

The Winery – Cantina Tombacco 

The Tombacco winery originally began as a farm built by Giovanni Battista Tombacco whom wanted to produce peachesIn 1919 he transformed the winery and the old vines so that he could get into winemakingGiovanni’s sons, Bruno and Adriano, joined him and the youngest grandson, Giuliano, expanded the winery to include a larger cellar and warehouseToday the winery is led by Giuliano with his son, Cristian. 

Cantina Tombacco has their own estates in the Veneto region in northern Italy and also partner with other agricultural companies that share the same values and show the same care and passion for growing quality grapes as the Tombacco winery doesPer their site, 40% of the production is sold in bottles totaling around 10 million bottles and the other 60% is sold in barrelsThe wines are 100% certified organic as well as vegan certified, meaning that their filtering and clarifying is using vegetable and mineral derivatives.   

The area – Biferno DOC 

The Biferno DOC appellation is named after the local Biferno River, which flows from the northeast to the Adriatic SeaThis area encompasses inland from the capital, Campobasso, towards the Adriatic Sea As you’ll see in the blend in a little bit, the wines require to be made from 70-80% Montepulciano and 15-20% Aglianico with up to 15% of non-aromatic red grapes The Riserva wines must age at a minimum of 3 years with 13% alcohol. 

The Wine 

The 2018 Cantina Tombacco Biferno Rosso Riserva DOC is made from 80% Montepulciano and 20% AglianicoThe wine is aged in stainless and 500-liter tonneau for 36+ monthsThe color was a dense, intense ruby with aromas of cherry, vanilla and spice.  On the palate the wine is full-bodied and smooth with good acidity and subtle tannins. Notes of blackberry and cherry with some spice and oak present on the finish. ABV 14% SRP About $15 

2018 Tombacco Biferno Rosso Riserva

Join the rest of our Italian food and wine loving crew as they share their explorations of the Basilicata, Molise and Campania wine regions this weekend. Catch us live on Twitter this Saturday at 11am EST #ItalianFWT to chat about these southern wine regions of Italy.


  1. I know it's a little silly to reduce everything the winery is doing to the label - but I love that label! Something about it is so striking. Thank you for hosting this month and for doing the chat!

  2. I find it so interesting that the blend is Montepulciano and Aglianico. It's a blending of the regions around them, the Montepulciano so prevalent in Abruzzo above them and the Aglianico from Campania to the west. It's like the best of both worlds!

  3. Thanks for hosting! I have a Molise pairing in the wings, too. Can't wait for the chat.

  4. Thanks for hosting the theme this month Jen! And thanks for the introduction to Molise as well. The Cantina Tombacco Biferno Rosso Riserva DOC sound like a high QPR wine!