When you're looking for great wine, Italy is a great place to be. The region of Molise is among the most obscure of Italy’s wine-producing areas. Molise and Abruzzo were governed as a single region until 1963, when Molise separated from its neighbor to the north. This small, sparsely populated region, which also borders Lazio, Campania and Puglia, has a diverse topography despite its tiny size. West of the Adriatic resorts of Termoli and Vasto lie the southern Apennine mountains; in the plains to the south is the medieval city of Campobasso, the regional capital [source: ItalyWorldClub].
Much of the landscape of Molise remains roughly as it has been for millennia, and the old agrarian traditions and customs of its people are still intact. This preservation of the region makes it a delight to visit, since the area is not wealthy and still lies far off the beaten tourist path. Much of its culture and cuisine bear the influence of Abruzzo, home of the well-known Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine [source: ItalianMade].
With its sun-drenched hillsides, Molise has nearly ideal conditions for wine production. In fact, human beings have cultivated wine grapes here since ancient times. However, until very recently, practically all the wine produced in Molise has been strictly for local consumption. A handful of vintners have begun to modernize their vineyards while preserving the local varietals, and in the 1980s, Molise received its first DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) designation. Today, the region produces three DOC wines: the Biferno, named for the river that flows through the province of Campobasso; the Pentro di Isernia, grown in the region’s western province of Isernia; and the Molise, produced throughout the region from a variety of Italian and international grapes. The DOC varieties represent only a small portion of the region’s output. Molise seems poised at last to develop rapidly into a great wine region.