By CELIA STRONG
If a person never learns anything else about wine, they must know there is always another wine to be tried.
New region. New grape varieties. New vintages of old favorites at the very least.
It’s all hard work but someone has to do it.
This week’s new, for many, includes a new region and/or a new variety.
Puglia, or Apulia in Italian, is one of Italy’s 20 DOC wine regions. It is located on the back and bottom of the Italian “boot.” It is the “high heel” of the boot and makes up the very southern east coast on the Adriatic.
This area has a Mediterranean climate with dry summers and mild winters. Puglia’s wine making history dates back to the ancient Greeks.
Historically, Apulia produces large quantities of rugged and deeply colored wines. They have 25 DOC regional designations.
Some are not so wonderful, less expensive, locally favored wines. But, others are awesome. Discovered by searching out the new, tasting, and knowing the grape varieties that are used.
The Salento area is located at the southern end of the region and is the source for many wines. Salice Salentino (sa-lee-chay sahl-len-tee-no) is one of the better known DOCs that has better wines.
The Salice Salentino DOC was established in 1976, but its wines have records dating back to the 6th century, B.C. Today, the whole Apulian wine industry is just starting to expand itself.
These wines are mostly reds, with small productions of rosé and white. Negroamaro (literally translated
as black or dark and bitter) and Malvasia Nero are the two main grapes allowed in the red wines.
The basic reds have no aging requirements, although reserve wines can require 24 months of aging.
Most producers, today, are trying to make less traditional wines in favor of well-crafted, more fruity wines. Not limiting themselves to just local varieties.
These wines are well-received. Locally and exported. Although, they may not have DOC status.
Castello Monaci is located in the center of the Salice Salentino DOC. They have a 16th century castle that was once run by Basilican monks. It has been owned by the same family since the 19th century.
Monaci has an awesome record for wines made from Negroamaro and Malvasia Nero. Mostly from 350 acres of vineyards that they own.
Coribante is a new red wine in the Monaci portfolio. It is a blend of Syrah and Malvasia Nero. New grape and old traditional grape.
These grapes grow in mostly clay soil, in very warm vineyards. The vines are an average of five years old. After harvest and crushing, each variety is fermented separately. At controlled temperatures in stainless steel vats. The Syrah stays in its stainless steel tanks while the Malvasia Nero goes through a
malolactic fermentation and sits in barriques (wood barrels) for 12 months.
The finished, blended, wine is a concentrated deep red color with hints of purple. It has aromas and flavors that include cherries, raspberries, elderflowers and hints of black pepper.
This wine is fairly full bodied, intense, smooth, juicy and has enough tannins to pair well with red meat, pasta and meatballs, strong cheeses and more.
For $11.99 at Bill’s. Awesome. Enjoy.