Tag Archives: Puglia

Alberto Longo – 2/05/2012

Capoposto Negroamaro 2008
A very juicy plummy nose with depth, softness and fruit sweetness, focused and velvety tannins, very mellow and yet focused with red tomato savoury elements.

Cacc’e Mmitte di Lucera 2009
A DOC wine made from two red varieties (nero di troia and montepulciano) and one white variety (bombino bianco). Especially unique aromas, expressing currants with earthy smoked meat, was fairly intense and fresh on the palate with tight and firm tannins without too much heat or astringency.

Le Cruste Nero di Troia 2009
Suffers from the problem outlined in the introduction to this post, showing very intense sweet spicy oak, and a thin blanket of coconut sitting over the palate. The fruit was bold and structured, showing some interesting cranberry and blackberry notes, but it was hard to get past the oak.

A wine I had seen before but never tasted

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Rivera – 3/05/2012

Marese Bombino Bianco 2011
Aromas of florals, melon and citrus, whilst on the palate was light, fresh and fruity with some honey and tropical notes.

Pungirosa Bombino Nero Rose 2011
Delicate aromas of red berries and slightly savoury elements, and was very fresh, bright and crisp with vibrant cherry and raspberry fruits and some fruit sweetness.

Violante Nero di Troia 2008
Combines raspberry, spice, violets and liquorice on the nose, was very bold and full-flavoured with lot’s of grippy tannins and juicy dark fruits like cherries and blackcurrants.

The huge range of wines made at Rivera

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A.Mano – 4/05/2012

Fiano Greco 2011
Very bright and ripe with apricot and peach blossom aromas, great freshness and viscosity on the palate, good texture and depth.

Rosato 2011
Made from a blend of 75% primitive and 25% aleatico, and on the nose showed delicate cherry and strawberry notes in a slightly candied realm, very tight and precise on the palate with good raspberry acids and very subtle fruit sweet texture.

Negroamaro 2008
Quite perfumed, showing brooding earthy notes with delicate florals and dark sun-drenched fruits, and on the palate was bold yet focused and restrained with good intensity and clarity.

Primitivo 2008
Expressed primrose, violets, indian spice and aniseed aromas, and on the palate had lovely full and juicy black fruits, mellow tannins and soft texture.

Prima Mano Primitivo 2008
Comes from a single vineyard, and is only produced in exceptional years. More intense and serious than the previous wine, with more earthy dried black fruits on the nose, and sweeter more concentrated fruits and tannins on the palate, very mature and complex.

It's all about primitivo at A.Mano

It’s all about primitivo at A.Mano

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Cantele – 4/05/2012

Verdeca 2011
To begin with very vibrant and fresh, with tropical kiwi and passion fruit aromas, and on the palate was very light and slightly green. I felt that the variety was reflective of the region and winery, but had more to offer and could be developed with more ripeness and texture.

IGT Chardonnay 2011
A very light, clean and precise example of the variety, but offered very little interest and to me didn’t have a long enough ripening period.

Teresa Manara Chardonnay 2010
Had similar fruit characteristics to the 2011, but with the inclusion of malolactic and oak manipulation simply added complication rather than complexity.

Negroamaro Rosato 2011
A rosy fruit sweet blackcurrant nose, with some lovely fresh strawberry acids and cherry R/S texture.

Negroamaro Salento IGT 2010
Spicy and peppery, with blackberry and floral notes, generous soft and full tannins, consistency and restraint.

Primitivo 2009
Showed deeper more brooding black fruits, denser expression of tannin and earthiness.

Teresa Manara Negroamaro 2009
Quite subtle and soft, with toasty blackcurrant fruits, powerful and intense but very complex.

Amativo 2009
A blend of 60% primitivo and 40% negroamaro, and was very intense on the nose, showing floral dark fruits with sweeter chocolate and liquorice notes, broad and full yet supple, approachable and focused.

The nerve-centre of the Cantele winery

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The new wave (Puglia, Italy – Day Three)

Probably the most exciting thing to discover about Italy is the new movement sweeping the wine industry. Wine production in every region has well and truly moved into the 21st century of wine production in various ways. The wine industry has well and truly moved out of the past, where there were many growers and vineyards mostly providing their high yield fruit to cooperatives to produce high volume simple wines to mass markets. Hygiene and technology have been well established in the vast majority of wineries to produce clean, stable and wines that are approachable and pleasant to a much wider range of tastes and markets. Taking inspiration from the French influence on the rest of the world, Italian growers have a much better understanding of their terroir than ever before. More importantly they now know much more about how their indigenous cultivars perform in their environments and sites, and how new practices in the vineyard can improve the quality of these unique varieties. The new wave is about making terroir wines that are made from one or more varieties that are the best reflection of their origin. We are in a golden age of Italian wine, and now is the best time to get involved with them as a consumer because as the quality continues to improve and the demand around the world increases, the prices won’t always be this affordable. The final two producers I visited in Puglia are part of this new wave movement, working very closely with growers in the region to provide them with the best fruit possible to make their wines in a modern yet respectful and traditional way.

Basilicata di Santa Croche

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Another world (Puglia, Italy – Day Two)

The title of this post says it all; the Puglia region may as well be an entirely different country compared to most of the regions that I have visited in the last six weeks. It is a wide-open, fertile yet relatively dry region that has no problem growing a wide variety of crops, including enough grapes for it to rank in the top three largest producers. From north to south it is less than 100 km wide, but is over 400 km long, which makes it diverse not only geographically and climatically, but also culturally as well. There are dozens of indigenous grapes, some barely grown any more, and many others making a comeback. At the highest points the elevation only reaches approximately 400m above sea level, and the aspects of any hills are very gentle compared to their neighbours to the north. The soil types are commonly rich red and brown soils, often including calcareous and limestone based deposits. To try to summarise Puglia in one short paragraph does it a disservice, and it would take many weeks or months to better understand it. Unfortunately I only had three days, and regretfully had a low success rate in arranging appointments. So it was with a little disappointment but also interest that I continued south from Lucera towards Salento, but stopping along the way at Rivera, located in the middle of the region.

Castel del Monte

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What’s your flavour? (Puglia, Italy – Day One)

Something quite interesting has happened to my tastes over the past six weeks in Italy; I think I have become anti-oak. I think this has been in reaction to tasting so many new wines made from unfamiliar varieties, and my desire to see the subtleties and nuances of each variety without the interference of oak treatment. In general the wines where the oak has worked for it have been made from or included more familiar French varieties, which perhaps suggests I am merely unfamiliar with how oak reacts with these unfamiliar varieties. The wines in Italy have been exceptional, and have got me really excited for the future of Italian wines, as by all accounts the quality of the wines and the understanding of the varieties and terroir have only been happening over the past 20 or so years. In no way am I suggesting that the distracting use of oak is prevalent in Italy, in fact it is quite uncommon. My assumption is that because of the excitement I have felt tasting more ‘traditional’ wines made from indigenous varieties where little to no oak is used, I have been uninspired by wines that use too much new oak for too long that give them a more ‘modern’ and ‘international’ flavour that whilst not necessarily bad are boring and like many others. Too often I see aromas of chocolate and banana (a tad strange, but unmistakable) which immediately turn me off, and then on the palate comes the vanilla and coconut. This makes it difficult for me to assess and come to terms with such unique varieties as montepulciano, lagrein, sagrantino and nero di troia. Whilst I totally agree that I must become more familiar with these varieties and regions before passing judgement, the predilection for over-use of oak is unmistakable and in my opinion unforgivable. Allow the flavours to shine through, speaking for themselves and seducing new consumers all over the world, as nature is the champion rather than the winemaker in my opinion.

A friendly observer on the way to Puglia

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