The Tintore is the native grape of the small village. Cultivated ungrafted, it preserves the wine heritage of the area.
By Francesca Faratro, photo by Salvatore Guadagno Studio
The Tintore grape variety has been safeguard over time by winemakers in Tramonti that worked hard to keep their local vine protected. In this little town called Tramonti, surrounded by colorful landscapes, the dark grape gets harvested and cared for. Here in the famous terraces of the Amalfi Coast near the sea, the vines grow. When you pour a glass of Tintore, the wine is a rich, dark purple shade that offers an in-depth and delicious taste to the ones drinking it. Thanks to the local farmers’ great effort, despite the challenges, this grape variety has survived. Local farmers have been looking after it with care, even in the absence of a set of specifications. Thanks to the 2020 vintage, Tintore was officially given the Denominazione di Origine Controllata Amalfi Coast, a classification certifying a specified region’s product’s quality standard.
The meaning behind its name
This vineyard was one of the few that survived the Phylloxera epidemic that destroyed most vineyards in Europe in the late 1800s. The anthocyanin were the ones to gave the grape variety its name. Tintore is rich in these water-soluble vacuolar pigments, typical of food plants such as blackberries and grapes, that provide the color. They are responsible for the ruby, almost purplish color that we see leave a mark on the glass when we pour this wine. That’s where the name Tintore, from the word tint, comes from. «it’s enough to pour a drop of wine on a shirt or a tablecloth and look at the tint to understand where the name of our grape comes from,» explains Federica Caso, a young woman of Tramonti.
Tintore is a timeless vine variety with firm tannins and a complex bouquet of fruits that includes cherries, red berries, and different spices. The aroma, though, varies with time and can take on various declinations up to cocoa and roasted notes following its aging process. It is a wine with excellent aging potential.
The Tintore grape harvest
In the past, it has been mixed with other local varieties, but today there is a tendency to prefer a purer production. If a small percentage of other grapes is required by any means, it is preferred to use Piedirosso. A lot of work in the cellars was necessary over a long period to get to the characteristics that nowadays identify this wine. In the beginning, the high acidity levels in the wine were a problem. Still, after working on perfecting the fermentation, stabilization, and aging of the wood barrels, everything worked fine. To enjoy a nice glass of Tintore is ideal for keeping a bottle in a cool environment away from direct light. After years, the wine would have benefited from the passing time, and the taste would be even gentler.
Wine and food pairing
Tintore, thanks to its qualities, it’s a perfect wine to serve with meat, stews, game meat, and pasta dishes with meat sauce. Traditionally, the local cuisine has always been specialized in warm dishes such as soups with legumes and sausages that complemented perfectly baked goods; this wine is also a perfect match to these dishes. Additionally, Tintore can be enjoyed with charcuterie and cheese boards (especially with the local caciocavallo).
The old Tintore vines
«Tintore represents a big part of my life. When I was just a kid, I used to play in the vineyards and, with time, this passion turned into a more concrete curiosity and, eventually, a career,» tells us Pisco Apicella, the owner of the family winery. The truth is that Tintore is a rare variety of grape, difficult to cultivate and harvest, very frail, and easily subjected to diseases. Nonetheless, the unique characteristics that made Tintore what is are the ones that made this wine irreplaceable for the citizens of Tramonti, who considers it to be their pride. It requires lots of knowledge and skill in each step: from the pruning to the best way to shield the grape from adverse weather conditions, until understanding where are the measures to follow to bring the fruits in the winery safely. It is undoubtedly a challenging process, but the feeling of seeing that unique dark-red color tint the glass is worth any struggle. «I remember that my grandfather used to tell me that to have a vineyard that produced Tintore was considered a blessing. Back in the day, people used to mix one liter of this precious wine with water until three liters of product. Today, as a winemaker, I wish to promote this wine and this land and compete with the most famous variety because that’s what Tintore deserves. It may be a tough challenge, but not an impossible one» A big step has already been made: Tintore has won the battle against time and is ready to face the future.
Where to find Tintore in Tramonti
- Azienda Agricola Andrea Reale, Via Cardamone 75, Borgo di Gete, Tramonti, aziendaagricolareale.it, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Azienda Agricola Giuseppe Apicella, Via Castello S.Maria 1, Frazione Capitignano, Tramonti, giuseppeapicella.it, email: email@example.com
- Tenuta San Francesco, Via Fieccia, Tramonti, vinitenutasanfrancesco.com, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Azienda Agricola Tagliafierro Raffaele, Vian San Sebastiano, Frazione di Campinola, Tramonti, cantinetagliafierro.it
- Azienda Agricola Monte di Grazia, Via Orsini 36, Tramonti, montedigrazia.it, email: email@example.com
- Cantine Ida Giordano, Via de Matteis 11, Frazione Capitignano, Tramonti
(Translation by Michela Pandolfi)