Leone de Castris Salice Salentino Maiana 2005
Blend: 90% Negroamaro, 10% Black Malvasia
Founded in 1665 by the Spanish Duke Oronzo, Earl of Lemos, in the Italian region of Puglia, Leone de Castris has been exporting wine since the beginning of the 19th century. The wines are the product of culture, innovation and a centuries-old tradition of dedication and passion. Leone de Castris’ entire range of wines has won awards and received prestigious recognition from all over the world. Their products are present not only in European markets, but also in the USA, Canada, Brazil, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, and more. Located close to the winery is Leone de Castris’ high-end restaurant and hotel, Villa Donna Lisa, where they host travelers, foreign delegations and Italians wishing to visit the winery. For centuries Leone de Castris has worked only in Puglia, producing only Apulian products. While some may view this as a limitation, for Leone de Castris, it is a specialty to be proud of. Their mission is to make the highest-quality products possible in the land where they were born and raised. Leone de Castris’ Five Roses Rosato was first produced in 1943. It was the first rosé bottled in Italy and the first to be sold in the U.S. For several generations, each de Castris had five children, hence the name, Five Roses. Along with their famous rosé, the winery produces a wide range of red and white DOC wines (Salice Salentino, Primitivo di Manduria) and interesting IGT Salento and Puglia wines.
While picturesque hillsides, endless coastlines and a favorable climate serve to unify the grape-growing culture of this country. The apparent never-ending world of indigenous grape varieties gives Italy an unexampled charm and allure. From the steep inclines of the Alps to the sprawling, warm, coastal plains of the south, red grape varieties thrive throughout.
The kings of Italy, wines like Barolo and Barbaresco (made of Nebbiolo), and Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino (made of Sangiovese), as well as Amarone (mostly Corvina), play center stage for the most lauded, collected and cellar-worthy reds. Less popular but entirely deserving of as much praise are the wines made from Aglianico, Sagrantino and Nerello Mascalese.
For those accustomed to drinking New World reds, the south is the place to start. Grapes like Negroamaro or Primitvo from Puglia and Nero d’Avola from Sicily make soft, ammicable, full-bodied, fruit-dominant wines. Curious palates should be on the lookout for Cannonau, Lagrein, Teroldego, Ruché, Freisa, Cesanese, Schiopettino, Rossese and Gaglioppo to name a few.