Showing posts with label Puglia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Puglia. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The Mandurian Candidate - Primitivo

Manduria is a town in the region of Apulia, the heel of Italy's "boot."  The warm climate brings the best out of the Primitivo grape, known in the province of Taranta as Primitivo di Manduria.  In the U.S., particularly California, the grape grows under the name of Zinfandel.  In Manduria, they like to think of the Puglia Primitivos as a pyramid, with the Primitivo di Manchuria DOC at the top.
  

Mottura Vini Primitivo di Manduria Stilio 2019

This wine was made from grapes that were partially dried, reducing the water content by a quarter or so and leaving a much more concentrated flavor.  Winemaker Teodosio D’Apolito works the magic with the fruit from the Mottura family vineyards.  Aging took place over six months in French oak barrels, with another three months in the bottle.  Alcohol hits 14.5% abv

This medium-dark wine has a nose of smoke, earth and pepper, on top of brambly red fruit.  The palate is savory and supple, with red currant, coffee notes and a raspberry tartness.  There is also a mocha sense which comes through after a bit of time in the glass.  The finish is quite lengthy, and quite a joy to savor.  


Tenuta Giustini Primitivo di Manduria Acinorè
2019

The vineyards of 50-year-old bush vines were passed down through generations, and in 2006 the Giustini family started making wine from their grapes.  That's an extremely short duration, especially by European standards, but their decision to make wine has shown to be a good one.  The winemaking is done by Giuseppe and Salvatore Papadopoli.  Aging happened over six months time in small French oak barrels with another couple of months in the bottle.  Alcohol is quite high, normal for the wines of the region, at 15% abv.  

This wine's nose is a perfumed dream, all dark red fruit with a gorgeous layer of spice and herbs.  After being open for awhile, smoke really takes over.  The palate brings black cherry to the forefront on a wave of sage and a refreshing acidity.  Pair it with some meatballs, now.  


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Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Gambero Rosso Italian Wine Masterclass - Part Three

Virtual wine tasting events are no stranger to me, especially in the era of COVID-19.  Get the box, open the box, log on and taste from home.  No social distancing to strain the process, no mask needed.  I was invited to take part in a Zoom gathering recently along with two dozen other wine writers.  The event was called the Tre Bicchieri Web Show, which featured twelve different Italian wines from various producers.  My shipment was delayed several times - it came from Italy, after all - so I didn't get to take part, but the box finally arrived and I was able to taste the wines inside.

The Tre Bicchieri Web Show was presented by Gambero Rosso, a Rome-based Italian wine and food magazine that was founded in 1986.  It was their first-ever Master Class, which indicates that there are more planned.

The interactive event was hosted by Lorenzo Ruggeri, the wine guide's international editor, with comments along the two-hour journey from each winery's representative.  This is the final of three articles on Now And Zin Wine which feature the wines that were tasted.  

Tenuta Monteti Caburnio 2015 

The Baratta family owns Tuscany's Tenuta Monteti in Capalbio, in the southern part of Maremma, very close to the sea.  The winery was founded in 1998 and it deals exclusively with international varieties like Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Alicante-Bouschet.  All the Monteti wines are aged in small wood barrels. 

The 2015 Caburnio was made from 50% estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 25% Alicante Bouschet.  The individual grapes were vinified and aged separately, then blended, then aged a year in the bottle.

Ruggeri says the area is in the wildest part of Tuscany, where the forests are populated mostly by wild animals.  The region, he says, is too warm for Sangiovese or white wine grapes, but great for the Bordeaux varieties.  Caburnio has alcohol at 14% abv and a retail price of $21.

This wine is dark enough, that's for sure.  It is a blend of Cab, Merlot and Alicante Bouschet.  No light gets through it when I hold it to the light.  It smells dark, too.  Cassis and tar fight for first place, while blackberry and oak spice aromas jostle from behind.  The palate is stately, with a muscular elegance structured by firm tannins, flinty minerals and a lively acidity.  Bring on the steaks, as big as you like.

Coppi Gioia del Colle Primitivo Senatore 2015

Now we come to Puglia - the heel of the boot, the land of Primitivo.  The winery which is now Cantine Coppi was founded in 1882 and taken over by the Coppi family in 1976.  It sits between Turi and Gioia del Colle, where the vineyards feature. traditional varieties like Primitivo, Aleatico, Negroamaro, Malvasia Nera, Malvasia Bianca, Falanghina and Verdeca.  On the label, you'll see an artistic representation of an elevation map of the property.

The 2015 Coppi Senatore was named after Senator Antonio Michele Coppi, who founded the company and makes the wine.  It was made completely from Primitivo grapes which were grown on their chalky, clay hillsides.  The de-stemmed fruit was crushed and put into fermenters before being transferred to steel tanks after separating the juice from the skins.  Aging took place in barrels of Slavonian oak for about a year.  Alcohol hits only 13.5% abv and the price is $30.

This Primitivo shows a medium-dark tint in the glass and a nose that is all fruit, all the time.  Cherry aromas are joined by notes of plum and cassis, with just a hint of oak.  After it sits for a bit, a whiff of smoke gathers at the top of the glass.  The palate shows a lot of earthiness and a chalky quality, which we can chalk up to minerality.  There is a lengthy finish that turns slightly tart on the fade.  I would love to have this wine with some nice Italian sausages and pasta, or a meatball sub. 

Còlpetrone Montefalco Sagrantino 2012 

Còlpetrone is in Montefalco, right in the middle of Umbria, which is right in the middle of Italy.  Under the umbrella of Tenute del Cerro, they are known for producing wines of note from the ancient Sagrantino grape and the white Grechetto.  The winery was founded in 1995 in the hilly region of clay loam soil.  

The 2012 Còlpetrone Montefalco Sagrantino is a full varietal wine, 100% Sagrantino, which was racked into French oak barrels after fermentation for a full malolactic fermentation.  It was aged in the wood for a year and another six months in the bottle.  The winery rep noted the big spiciness in the wine, adding that it is unusual to think of Sagrantino as elegant, but that this one earns the description.  Ruggeri said, it is "not showing off, the wine speaks in a low voice."  One of the participants commented that it is like meat in a glass.  Alcohol sits at 14% abv and the list price is $30.

This 2012 wine is extremely dark in the glass - inky - and bears a nose of beautiful blackberry and black plum.  There is a savory ride-along for good measure.  The sip reveals a wine with a tingling acidity and very firm tannins - eight years old and it still has plenty of fight left in it.  Bring on the rib eye, bring on the porterhouse… this wine will tame all of them.

Tenuta Sant'Antonio Amarone della Valpolicella Campo dei Gigli 2015 

The Castagnedi brothers' estate extends along a ridge in Veneto that separates the Mezzane and Marcellise valleys.  They also have vineyards to the east, towards the Illasi valley.  Tenuta Sant’Antonio was represented on the virtual event by Armando Castagnedi, who said the property's marly limestone soil is so deprived of nutrients that it is white.  Accordingly, the vines have to work to stretch their roots deep to find the richer dirt.  

The 2015 Amarone della Valpolicella was made from a mix of Italian grape varieties: 70% Corvina and Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, 5% Croatina and 5% Oseleta.  The grapes were dried for three months for raisining before being pressed late in the year.  The wine was vinified in new 500-litre French oak casks.  Afterward, the aging process took place in new casks for three years.  Tasters mentioned barbecue notes, cinnamon and fruits.  The alcohol content is 16% abv and the retail price is $73.

This wine speaks loudly through its minerals, but does not need to shout.  The dark liquid gives off aromas of meat, fine cigars, dried fruit and a slight raisiny note.  It is a complete joy to smell, let alone to drink.  The palate is silky smooth, with tannins on the back end.  Dark fruit dominates the flavor profile, but there is a hefty chunk of savory minerality that elbows through - ever so elegantly.  Pair it with pasta, marinara, Bolognese, or just sip it and make dinner wait.


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Monday, June 3, 2013

Cantele Negroamaro 2010


Cantele Negroamaro is an Italian wine from the Puglia region with an I.G.T. Salento classification.  It is produced in the heel of the Italian boot, Salento, in the province of Leece, in a town called Guagnano.  It’s 100% Negroamaro, a grape known for a bitter quality in the taste.  I hear that amaro is Italian for bitter, but the grape’s name is more likely a combination of two words meaning black.  More Negroamaro grapes are grown in Puglia than anywhere else.

The 2010 Cantele Negroamaro was ordered at Cube in Los Angeles, where it cost $10 by the glass.  Denise and I love to get a cheese and charcuterie plate with a nice Italian wine.  The wine list is loaded with good Italian selections at Cube.  We had four cheeses - Camembert, vintage cheddar, benedictine and bleu - with prosciutto, sopressata and salumi mole also on the plate.

The dark red wine is aged in stainless steel, so the freshness of the fruit is not cut by oak.  Aromas of blackberry and black cherry fly unfettered from the glass.  A big, dark and fruity palate shows plums, blackberries and a nice earthy element that fits perfectly.

The unoaked quality of this wine is so impressive - I wish more red wines in the US were made that way. The freshness and the pairing with the food are heightened in the absence of oak treatment.

Whenever I have Italian wine with food, I am always struck by how well the two go together.  It was the same at this meal, with the wine bringing out highlights in the meats and cheeses.


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Friday, December 28, 2012

Cantele Primitivo


At the Las Vegas Brio Tuscan Grille, I felt like a Zinfandel, but wanted to drink Italian.  That’s an easy situation to deal with when there is a Primitivo on the list.

Primitivo and Zinfandel were thought to be the same grape with different names, until DNA analysis showed that, while very similar, they are different grapes.

The Cantele Primitivo is a 100% varietal wine, I.G.T. Salento, which is in Puglia, the heel of the Italian “boot.”  It costs $7.95 by the glass at the restaurant.

Cantele Primitivo is colored quite darkly, and has an intense nose of blackberry and spice.  An earthy aroma has a little spearmint mixed in.  On the palate, flavors of blackberry dominate, and the tannins are very gentle.  Sipping it alone was a joy, and it paired with my Bolognese sauce perfectly.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Whole Foods Wine: Summer Twitter Tasting #1


The folks at Whole Foods Market have a popular series of Twitter Tasting events designed to show off the wines offered in their chain of groceries.  The Whole Foods wine buyers and some local stores take part, but mostly the gatherings consist of a bunch of social media addicts who love wine - good people like you and me.

Their Twitter Tastings about their line of Spanish wines were quite enjoyable, and just last week the same venue was used to expose Whole Foods’ wines of summer.  They have a top ten list of summer favorites, and three of the wines were the topic of the May 31, 2012 event.  Another trio will be sipped and discussed on July 12, 2012 from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. CT.  If you want to take part, pick up the wines and log on at that time.  Use the hashtag #WFMwine.  We’ll be waiting for you.

There was a lot of very satisfied tweeting about the three wines tasted for the most recent event.  A lot of tweeters found all three to be of high quality at a reasonable price.

Mionetto Prosecco is made from organically-grown Glera grapes, which were known as Prosecco until a few years ago.  The name of the grape was changed to help protect the name of the Prosecco D.O.C.  The sparkling wine has only an 11% alcohol content and less than 1% residual sugar.  The winery advises serving it refrigerator-cold, which is a lot colder than I like to serve wine.  They recommend Mionetto Prosecco as a base for Bellinis and other sparkling wine cocktails.

I found the nose a little hard to reach - that happens to me a lot with very cold wine - but minerals and lemon lime did come through for me.  On the palate, the toasty aspect of the fruit was more pronounced than I had anticipated.  It wasn’t as sweet as I had thought it might be, either.  Apples and citrus are in front, with a gentle earthiness riding over the sweetness of the fruit.  Minerals abound amid a wonderful acidity.  The medium finish really holds that minerality.  On Twitter, @WineHarlots liked it a lot.  I know that @WineHarlots tend to love that which sparkles, they also have a discerning palate I can trust.

Pratsch Grüner Veltliner 2011 is another organic wine.  The Pratsch winery is in Austria, northeast of Vienna.  This wine also presents an easy-drinking abv number of 12%.  On the Austrian scale of wine quality it is Qualitätswein.  The Austrian and German quality scale is as challenging a topic as the Italian D.O.C. system, so I won’t pretend to be an authority on it.  As I understand, Qualitätswein means the grapes used in the wine were harvested somewhat overripe.  This could result in a late-harvest type of sweetness, but in this case it does not.

The Pratsch Gruner is very pale and has a nose of lemons and wet rocks.  On the palate it’s very smooth - almost too smooth.  I would like to have a little more acidity, but the smells and flavors are great.  Green apples and minerals are most notable, and the minerals are all over the finish.  Chill this wine for a summer sipper.

On Twitter, @SomeGrapes, @DeniseFraser, @joewinetraveler and others commented on how nice they found the acidity, directly contradicting my impression.  @WineFoodTravel pointed out there’s a hint of cucumber, which I had not noticed until it was pointed out.

Tormaresca Neprica 2010 is a wine from Italy’s I.G.T. Puglia region.  The grapes used are alluded to in the wine’s name:  NEgroamaro, PRImitivo and CAbernet Sauvignon.  The red blend is vinified and aged completely in stainless steel, with full malolactic fermentation.  I always love tasting a red wine produced without oak - the aromas and flavors are always so fresh and enticing.  In this wine, malolactic fermentation imparts a full-mouthed creaminess.

It’s medium-dark in the glass and has an amazing nose - big, huge black cherry, raspberry and currant notes are all wrapped in an earthy hint of allspice.  The palate is lean and fruity, showing very dark raspberry and cherry flavors, but so clean.  The nice acidity level and elegant tannins work together to make a mouth-watering quaff that is a joy to drink.  And in case you think summer wines have to be white or pink, this shows otherwise.  Neprica takes a chill quite well.

On Twitter, @sf_valerie thought the Tormaresca Neprica was like an Orin Swift Chianti, while @melanie0 was happy to find a chillable red for the hot weather ahead.

We hope to see your Twitter handle in the timeline in July!


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Monday, August 9, 2010

MATANE PRIMITIVO PUGLIA 2007


Matane at Pane E Vino

A night out with a couple of friends can hardly go wrong, but the right place for the meeting can boost an already enjoyable event to a higher plane.  Jones and Maggie met Denise and me for dinner at Pane E Vino, on Beverly in Los Angeles.  We've known Jones forever, but Maggie is a recent addition to our list of friends - and a welcome one.

We recently rediscovered Pane E Vino and it has quickly become one of our "go-to" Italian eateries.  Great food and service are abetted by a wine list that has yet to let me down.
Jones is always quick to defer to my judgment on wine selection.  It's one of the reasons I like him so much.  Should I tell him that when he follows my lead, it's usually for a wine I've never tried before?  He liked this Primitivo just fine, so I think we'll wait on that revelation a while longer.  By the way, in the photo that is his fish being fileted in the background.
The Matané Primitivo is grown and produced in Puglia, the "heel of the boot" on Italy's map. It's an IGT wine, and consists of 100% Primitivo grapes.  A collaborative effort from the Empson family and winemaker Filippo Baccalaro,  this Italian red was a nice find and paired very well with a simple rigatoni and light tomato sauce dish.
The Matané shows a medium-tinted red with some purple tones in the mix.  The only disappointment is a somewhat faint nose.  What is there, is laden with cherry and smells very fresh, though.  On the palate, there are lots of spices clamoring for attention among full and fruity cherry and raspberry notes.  A good bit of earthiness is also present.  A slightly smoky finish tops off the fruit very nicely.  The wine feels about medium-full in the mouth, has very nice tannins and is quite smooth. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

VALLE DELL'ASSO GALATINA 2006


Valle dell'Asso Galtina 2006

Sometimes the label on a bottle of wine doesn't offer much more than a blurb designed to sell the product.  The sticker on this rosso, though, is a wealth of information.  Valle dell'Asso is an Italian wine from Galatina, in the Puglia region - the heel of the boot - this is 85% Negramaro and 15% Montepulciano.  It's a red wine I purchased a couple of years ago for about $17 at Rosso Wine Shop in Glendale.  The importer is Tesori Wines of San Francisco. The alcohol level is only 13% abv.
This dark wine has black cherry, licorice and clove on the nose, and it's a dank and musty aroma.  I mean that in the best possible way.  I asked Denise for her opinion on the nose, and she said "It's meaty."  I concur.
The word for the taste is "Wow."  There's a burst of fruit - plums and figs - and a spicy quality that is both peppery and sweet.  There's some mushroom in there, too.  Despite the darkness that pops up at every turn, it's a very bright tasting red that's quite showy from the start.  It definitely makes an impression.  A rather lasting one, too, as the finish keeps on going and going.  It's a well-balanced and sturdy wine.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Doppio Passo Primitivo Salento 2007



All too often, I think of Italian red wines as lightweight party favors.  Tasty, maybe even interesting, but ultimately with not enough guts to handle anything tougher than a slice of lasagna.  I know, I know, that's a completely unjustified attitude.  But it's just a knee-jerk reaction.  I regularly buy Italian reds because I know how delicious they can be.  And I know that some of them have the stuff to fit in even on tables that aren't covered by red and white checkered cloths.

Doppio Passo Primitivo is such a wine.  This Primitivo is very dark – one can barely see through it when it's held up to the light.  The nose of black cherry or cherry cola also shows a lot of the earth.  The mouthfeel is medium-full and the palate is alive with a very rich and earthy taste – currants and cherries mostly.  It strikes me as the dark side of Zinfandel.  Not too surprising since Zinfandel and Primitivo grapes are international cousins of a sort.  The best part is there's no need for decanting.  This wine is as smooth as silk right out of the bottle!

Doppio Passo Primitivo Salento 2007 

Varietal:  100% Primitivo
Appelation:  Italy > Puglia > Salento

Vintage:  2007 
Alcohol Level:  13.5%
Price:  $18
Acquisition disclaimer:  I bought this wine.