The last wine discovery from this year’sÂ Fancy Food ShowÂ in DC was an Italian gem in Puglia, Tenute Girolamo. They were the perfect find as I was hosting #Winechat the following evening on Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot and one of my favorite wine regions.
Tenute Girolamo is located in the Valle d’Itria between the villages of Martina Franca, Locorotondo, Cisternino and near Alberobello. The Girolamo family hasÂ 50 acres cultivated at high density (12.300 vines per acre) which give more than 600,000 bottles of wine per year. They make fourÂ IGT (typical geographic indication Italian wine classification) wines…PÃ©troma, PÃ©trakos, IÃ©rai PÃ©trai and Capo di Gallo.
I met Inge Host with AZAA representing them at the show and tasted 3 lovely wines from theÂ Capo di GalloÂ label. Unfortunately they are not yet distributed in the U.S. but can be found in Europe.
Their website describes Capo di Gallo as “a precious wine which has the excellent qualities of the Puglia wines you can purchase for a good price. Capo di Gallo is done with a selection of Primitivo’s grapes together with other vines of our vine land, but the peculiar taste is given by the 6 months spent in barrels. This wine is deep red colored and the flavor is sweet and complex which perfectly matches the fruit aftertaste.”
The wines we tasted…
- Tenute GirolamoÂ Capo di Gallo Fiano: Fiano is a classic white found in the region. The wine is straw yellow in color with an herbal & floral nose plus honey on the palate.
- Tenute GirolamoÂ Capo di GalloÂ Negroamaro:Â Negroamaro is one of the two classic red grapes from the region. This wine is full of cherry, leather and pepper.
and my favorite…
Tenute GirolamoÂ Capo di GalloÂ Primitivo
- Grape Variety: Primitivo
- Aroma: Sweet berry and tobacco
- Taste: Medium bodied soft fruity berry jam flavors with nice spice and tobacco notes
- Thoughts:Â Primitivo is the native king of Puglia grapes. This wine, like most, is an intense violet color. It’s a great example of a Primitivo wine!
For more on Puglia wines, visit my #Winechat recap. And here’s a photo from Tenute Girolamo’s websiteÂ thatÂ truly captures the beautiful Valle d’Itria wine country.
SalutÃ© to Italian wine discoveries thanks to the Fancy Food Show!
Tagged As: Capo di Gallo
, Fancy Food Show
, Italian wine
, Puglia wine
, Tenute Girolamo
, Tenute Girolamo Capo di Gallo Primitivo
, Wine Discoveries
Saturday I discovered three fun Italian wines in Sonoma…Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar in Washington, DC that is.
The first wine was over dinner (very good food by the way) and part of the Tiny Bubbles wine flight, a comparison of sparkling wines.Â The flights at Sonoma are generous pours so you really get a taste for the wine.
Quattro Mani Franciacorta Brut
- Grape Variety: 80% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Bianco, 10% Pinot Nero from Lombardy, Italy
- Aroma & Taste: A combination of fruity and slightly yeasty/bready (like you get from Champagne)
- Price: $15
- My thoughts: This was a combination of grapes I hadn’t tried before and in a sparkling wine. It was a combination of a brut sparkling wine and a prosecco. Fun and different!
We served the second and third wines at my birthday party we held here Saturday night.
Terre Grillo IGT Sicilia 2008
- Grape Variety: 100% Grillo, an ancient grape variety from Sicily,Â estate where the grapes come from founded in 1875
- Aroma: White flowers and tropical fruit
- Taste: Lively, round body, melon and citrus
- Price: $9
- My thoughts: This was my drink of choice at the party! Really great wine … a cross between a Viognier, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. Definitely want to find this one for home!
Terre Negroamaro IGT Puglia 2008
- Grape Variety: 100% Negroamaro grown in Lecce in Puglia (the heel of Italy’s boot)
- Aroma: Red fruit with touch of earthiness (my girlfriend said almost mushroomy)
- Taste: Medium bodied with red fruit and spice
- Price: $9
- My thoughts: Another really nice wine at a great price! I discovered this grape on our trip to Puglia last summer. Puglia is Italy’s largest wine producer. Negroamaro means ‘bitter black’ and produces a big wine. This wine wasn’t too big probably due to the fact it is aged in stainless steel tanks. The label has a great illustration of the region’s trulli on it, roundÂ limestone buildings with conical grey stone roofs dating back to the Middle Ages that served as peasant homes.
Cheers to new wine discoveries!
Tagged As: DC
, Italian wine
, Puglia wine
, Quattro Mani Franciacorta Brut
, Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar
, Terre Grillo
, Terre Negroamaro
, Wine Discoveries
, Winebow Wines
Puglia wine dates back to Phoenician times and the Greeks named Puglia ‘Enotria‘, Wineland. Today Puglia is the largest producer of wine in Italy. Often referred to as ‘the wine cellar of Europe’ because in the past it primarily produced wine to send to the rest of Italy and Europe for structure and alcohol content in blending. However over the last decade, Puglia wineries have made investments that are starting to pay off. They realized making quality wine and bottling it for sale could be more profitable in the long run than producing large quantities for blending. The results I tasted were fantastic!
Red wine is king here (rosso) but you’ll also find white (bianco) and rosÃ© (rosato). The rosato was my biggest surprise and some of the best rosÃ© I’ve ever had!! As the climate here is very warm and the sun extremely strong, the grapes produce a wine high in sugar thus strong in flavor and high in alcohol. The grapes are grown in three ways: pergola (overhead canopy which I saw most often), bush (bushes on the ground) and cordon-trained (traditional vines on lines). The vineyard yields are quite high, about four to five times that of other regions.
The native grape varieties grown here were very new to me.
- Primitivo:Â This is the king of Puglia’s grapes and its name comes from the early ripening of the grape. A clone of the Zinfandel grape, its the heavily ‘exported’ grape for its structure. The wine it produces is an intense violet color with scents of currants, berry and spice and a soft, velvety fruit taste.
- Negroamaro: Meaning ‘bitter black’, this grape makes a strong wine with minimum 13% alcohol and no less than 2 years of aging. The wine it produces is dark red in color with a scent of cherry, leather and pepper and a taste that’s warm and powerful.
- Nero di Troia: Also know as Uva di Troia, this grape is said to have been brought to Puglia from Troy by the Greeks 2,000 years ago. It produces a deep red wine with fruity and spicy notes.
- You’ll also find Aleatico di Apulia (used for sweet dessert wine), Malvasia Nera, Montepulciano and Cabarnet grapes.
- Bombino Bianco: This grape also comes in red, Bombino Nero, often used for rosÃ©s. As a white its crisp and fresh, golden in color with a scent of ripe fruits.
- Malvasia Bianca: It produces an elegant well balanced wine with a scent of iris, pineapple and vanilla.
- You’ll also find Verdeca, Bianco d’Alessano, Fiano, Chardonnay and Sauvignon grapes.
DOC & IGT
There are 26 DOC (denomination d’origine controllata) in Puglia and only 10% of the wines in the region have this designation. Other wines from the region are either IGT (typical geographic indication) or Vini da Tavola (table wine).
- DOC: Salice Salento is the most famous region with the highest concentration of quality wine produced. Reds are mostly Negroamaro grape and wines from this region can only use the local grapes. Whites are mostly Malvasia Bianca. Other widely known DOC are Castel del Monte (Nero di Troia is the dominant grape), Brindisi (Negroamaro), Manduria (Primitivo) and Gioia del Colle (Primitivo).
- IGT: Six total designations include Puglia, Daunia, Murgia, Valle d’Itria, Tarantino and Salento.
For a great interactive map on Puglia’s wine regions visit Movimento Turismo del Vino Puglia.
My favorite wines out of the many DOC and IGT I tasted on our trip were from the following wineries…
- Leone de Castris: Near Lecce, one of the most award wining wineries in Puglia. They’ve been in the wine business since 1665 and started bottling in 1925. We had a bottle of Salice Salento Riserva Red DOC 2007 made of 90% Negroamaro and 10% Malvasia Nera. With a fruity smell of blackberry, black cherry and sweet spices, its smooth berry taste is very well balanced.
- Tenute Rubino: Located in Brindisi, they produce red, white and rosÃ© wines including my FAVORITE rosÃ© of the trip.
- Cantina del Locorotondo: We had a great visit to the Cantina and tasted 10 of their 21 wines. We brought home a bottle of two favorites, Cummerse Rosé (100% Pinot Nero IGT Puglia, crisp, refreshing and a light fruit taste) and Casale San Giorgio (Negroamaro and Primitivo IGT Puglia, a nice round and curvy red). Although we didn’t try Locorotondo’s specialty sparkling, we brought home a bottle of Locorotondo DOC PrimoSecco (60% Verdeca, 35% Biaco d’Alessano, 5% Fiano).
Salute to the fantastic wines of Puglia!
Tagged As: Cantina del Locorotondo
, Italian wine
, Leone de Castris
, Movimento Turismo del Vino Puglia
, Puglia wine
, Tenute Rubino