Cantele Salice Salentino Riserva 2017
The narrow Salento peninsula is renowned for high-quality wine thanks to abundant ventilation, temperate weather, extreme diurnal shifts in summer, and limestone-rich soils. Over the last two decades, Cantele has implemented a cutting-edge "minimal intervention" system in its vineyards, thus ensuring freshness and varietal expression.
Rich red fruit flavor with zinging acidity and lively minerality make it ideal for roast meats, especially rosemary and garlic-studded lamb.
At the end of World War II, when most of the population of Puglia was moving North to work in the big factories near Torino and Milano, Giovanni Battista Cantele, a wine merchant living in the nothern city of Imola, moved his family to Salento. The final decision was made by his wife Teresa Manara, who, at the time, barely knew anything about the area but fell in love with Puglia at first sight. She would later become the inspiration for a wine that now bears her name. After studying winemaking in Conegliano, Giovanni's son, Augusto Cantele, started the family winery, Cantine Cantele, with his father and his brother Domenico in 1979. Today, Teresa Manara and Giovanni Battista Cantele’s grandchildren run the winery together: Augusto’s children, Gianni and Paolo; and Domenico’s children, Umberto and Luisa. The Cantele winery is located in Guagnano, in the heart of the DOC where Negro Amaro dominates the landscape. Situated in the heart of the Mediterranean, Puglia is a land of rare beauty, where vast plains alternate with gentle hills. Salento, the long narrow strip that forms Puglia’s southern peninsula, extends between the Ionian and Adriatic seas. It’s an area rich with ancient olive groves and vines, enchanting beaches and jagged rocky shoreline.
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.
While robust notes of dark fruit do characterize Negroamaro, its modern expression doesn’t quite live up to the dramatic meaning of its name, “bitter and black.” This dark-skinned southern Italian grape variety is found on the eastern half of the Salento peninsula, which is the backside of Italy’s “boot heel” and part of the Puglia region. Negroamaro forms the base, along with Malvasia Nera and Primitivo, for the best wine of the area, called Salice Salentino. It can also produce single varietal reds as well as some impressive aromatic rosé wines. Somm Secret—Negroamaro is truly an Italian wine – no propagation of the grape is found anywhere else outside of Italy.