This less known area on Italy’s southern heel was our choice for the annual wine trip for the Male Wander fraternity .
Chosen partly to get off the beaten track and mainly for our love for the fuller sweeter styles of Primitivo wines.
We made our way via miles of flat olive treed planes ( 60 million of them in Puglia ) South West to the Ionian Sea via the Trullied town of Alberobello. Arriving too late at Masseria Bagnara to be fed, we drove around Lizzano finally finding ‘5 Stelle’a small oasis of basic but fine nourishment . The first Taste of Primitivo in a carafe for 6€ a litre , and excellent too with spinach and ricotta pizza , bresaola and Caprese salad.
Friday morning we headed to Cantele winery after a short stop in Manduria .
Cantele is a family run winery in Guagnano. the winery was completed in 2003 but this is now third generation.
We had the fortune to be take around by Umberto Cantele .
Lunch at their I sensi restaurant a homage to food and wine matching
Antipasti Fava bean Purée , local greens , mixed chargrilled vegetables
Wine match Cantele Alticelli Fiano -Stone and exotic fruit alternated by delicate floral notes and fresh herbaceousness
Ripe grapefruit nose lush texture and mouthfeel long and refreshing.
Pasta , traditional local Pugliese Orechiette.
Cantele Rohesia negroamaro Rich and lingering, with hints of red berry fruit, strawberry, pomegranate, and cherry. Complex aromatic character with a note of flint.
Fresh raspberries crisp long
Main -Thinly sliced beef , local roasted chicory and vegetables
Fanoi 2010 old vine Primitivo : Seductive, rich, and smooth. Powerful structure with acidity that balances the wine’s elegant tannic character.
decanter review 2010 96 points
Full bodied packed with black fruit concentrated later leather liquorice herbs intense
A meal in itself !
Dessert-Local grape tart
Le Passanti Fiano passito Very intense, as if it were produced in a bee hive rich with floral and fruit aromas. Acacia honey and Cane apple. Orange flower and bergamot.
A fabulous lush rich intense raisoned finish
Umberto entertained us about everything from running marathons , the philosophy of Italians ,graphic design of labels to the engineering of machine harvesters .
a true highlight of many wine tours and a must visit in Puglia.
Next stop Masseria li veli
Part of the Falvo family
Marvellous restored palatial building guarded by two sleeping dogs who looked like they’d knocked back their fair share of Negroamaro !
Another great tour and tasting by the passionate informed Giovanni
Tried the more unusual Susumaniello 2013 Salento IGT.
Evening , a visit to old town Lecce packed with baroque architecture churches restaurants .
Saturday a drive down the Ionian Coast to Gallipoli .
The weekend Could not have finished better than with 2010 Cantine San Marzano Primitivo Sesstanni overlooking the sea with sun setting.
There’s a small renaissance of old vine Primitivo, though unfortunately most of it has been pulled up following EU incentives.
So intense and concentrated left an almost permanent coat on the glass. Lush textured so balanced for 15% alcohol.
We all craved for more,surely the best sign of a blockbuster.
We couldn’t have ended on a bigger high, can’t wait to return in July !