Cantine Aperte 2017 – Sunday 28th May

cantine aperte logoAfter plenty of discussion (and under a lot of pressure to live up to the success of last year) we are delighted to announce our planned itinerary for Cantine Aperte 2017!!

This year we have decided to head east and focus on the wines to the south of Brindisi.  We have selected four fantastic vineyards / wineries to visit and will reveal a bit more about each in the lead up to the event.  Our tour also includes a stop for lunch and transport from Ceglie, San Michele, San Vito and Latiano – which means that you can sit back, relax and sample some delicious wine without having to worry about driving!

If you are interested in joining us, please fill in the form below.


Feudo di Santa Croce

WP_20160223_006This week we had the pleasure of visiting Cantine San Giorgio to sample some of their fantastic regional wines under the Feudo di Santa Croce label.  We arrived at the beautiful masseria, surrounded by typical Puglian countryside of olive groves and vineyards, and met our hosts Claudio and Serena.  They explained some of the history of the estate as we wandered around the masseria and vineyards and shared some of their excitement about the rise of Puglian wine in recent years and its future.

Following the tour, we retired to the tasting room where a fine spread of local cured meats and cheeses awaited us – along with a selection of their wines made from indigenous Puglian grape varieties.  First up was 2015 Alea – a crisp, fresh, straw coloured Malvasia Bianca that tasted of soft summer fruits with a slightly nutty finish.  This was followed by 2014 Malnera – a rich, ruby red blend of Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera grapes (70-30 for this vintage although the exact proportions fluctuate each year) that packed a powerful aroma and contained a big hit of red fruit with a nice peppercorn undercurrent.  Third on the list was a 2014 Megale – an absolutely amazingly deep red coloured Negroamaro with an aroma that was a bit like opening a packet of Bassett’s Allsorts whilst making plum jam in a coffee shop (not that I have done that very often – but if I did this is what it would smell of!).  Our penultimate wine was a 2013 Byzantium – a deep, ruby red Primitivo di Manduria that tasted of forest fruits and cherry licquer.  We finished with a 2013 Celebration LXXIV (74 for those struggling with Roman numerals in honour of the year when Primitivo was awarded its DOP status) – another Primitivo di Manduria but harvested from slightly older vines than the previous Byzantium, as a result of which the alcohol content was slightly higher and the fruits slightly more jammy in flavour.  This wine has been included in Wine Spectator magazine’s Top 100 Wines (globally) in both 2014 and 2015 – so here is hoping that the hat-trick is completed this year!!

What a collection of wines!  All were excellent and showcased just how unique, interesting and delicious the local grape varieties are – they just tasted of long, hot Puglian summers!  We had a long discussion / argument over our favourite – in the end Celebration LXXIV did win, just ahead of Malnera and Megale.  However, the fact that all 5 wines got at least an 8/10 rating is an incredible achievement and we’d be more than happy to sit down with a bottle of any of them!

Absolutely fantastic trip – can’t wait for an excuse to go back and try them all again!  Thanks again to Claudio and Serena for hosting us and sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm.

Bolonero – Torre Vento

boloneroName: Bolonero

Producer: Torre Vento

Grape Variety: Nero di Troia (70%), Aglianico (30%)

Vintage: 2012

We were recommended this wine today at a lovely restaurant in nearby Ceglie Messapica.  The owner assured me that it was an exceptional wine and pointed out that in 2015 it was awarded Tre Bicchiere by Gambero Rosso (which is their highest rating for wine, awarded to only 423 Italian wines last year).

Nero di Troia is almost exclusively grown in Puglia and is most commonly associated with the Castel del Monte region.  The wine has a dark ruby colour and an enticing, fruity aroma – it reminded Lucy and I of scrabbling around in hedgerows in the UK gathering fruit for a lovely homemade crumble!  Taste wise it appealed to both of us – it was light enough for Lucy to enjoy but with enough character and ‘interest’ for me.  I really liked the almost peppercorn finish – maybe all my Scottish relatives who insist of having pepper served with their strawberries are not mad after all!!

This is most definitely a wine that I will seek out again in the future and at around €6 (less than £5) a bottle it represents fantastic value for money.  I definitely feel the need to investigate the grape varieties further…