Botromagno Murgia Gravisano Passito di Malvasia Bianco 2005
In 1991, the D’Agostino family merged with the local cooperative winery, creating Botromagno, the first successful example of a privately owned winery partnered with more than 100 local grape growers. The D’Agostino family has been able to foster a reliable and efficient synergy with the local farmers; based on strict standards for quality grape growing, they have rapidly become one of the finest wineries in Puglia. The winery is located in the town of Gravina in Puglia. The Gravina DOC, which is named after the town, is one of Puglia’s most important appellations. The D’Agostinos have been the only ones to invest in the Gravina DOC, recovering the production of this white wine and rebuilding its reputation as an elegant and versatile wine. Today they are the only producers of the flavorful and refreshing Gravina, which is considered by many to be one of the most exciting whites from Southern Italy.
Well-suited to the production of concentrated, fruity and spicy red varieties, Puglia is one of Italy’s warmest, most southerly regions. Its entire eastern side is one long coastline bordering the Adriatic Sea. About half way down, the region becomes the Salento Peninsula. This peninsula, bordered by water on three sides, receives moist, nighttime, sea breezes that bring a welcome cooling effect to the region, where little rain creates a challenging environment for its vines. In fact, the region is named for the Italian expression, “a pluvia,” meaning “lack of rain.”
Puglia’s Mediterranean climate and iron-rich, calcareous soils support the indigenous Primitivo, Negroamaro and Nero di Troia. Primitivo produces an inky, spicy, brambly and ripe red wine whose best expression comes from Manduria. Nero di Troia produces tannic, rustic reds from Castel del Monte DOC while Negroamaro, typically blended with Malvasia nera, plays a large part in may blends made throughout the peninsula.
Puglia produces a small amount of white wines as well, predominantly made of the fruity, Trebbiano Toscano, or light, Bombino bianco grapes.
Persistent jasmine aromas coupled with ripe tropical and stone fruit flavors are pervasive in many wines that call themselves Malvasia. Both grape and name are far-reaching. Over 20 different varieties grow throughout Italy, Spain, Greece and other countries.
But variations on the name itself are plentiful too. There are actually approximately 70 registered grapes with Malvasia as part of their name or listed as a synonym for Malvasia. Some think that the actual name, Malvasia, stems from the Italian mispronunciation of Monemvasia, a southern Greek port. The French call it Malvoisie, the British say Malmsey and the Germans call it Malvasier. In any case, Italy has more forms of Malvasia than any other country. Most popular are Malvasia Bianca di Candia from Lazio, Malvasia di Candia Aromatico, which is planted widely and the red-skinned Malvasia di Casorzo from Piedmont. The list goes on.
Mainly known as a white grape, wines made from some type of Malvasia are adored for their spicy, fruity and exotic floral aromas, coupled with an assortment of fruits on the plate and a fresh zippy finish, whether bone dry or carrying any sort of residual sugar.