Showing posts with label Puglia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Puglia. Show all posts

Friday, June 14, 2024

A pure expression of the land where it is grown. Integro Negroamaro Puglia.

Integro Negroamaro Puglia (IGP) 2022, 13.5% ABV

€16.95 at O’Briens Wine

A pure expression of the land where it is grown


Intense ruby is the colour of this organic wine from the heel of Italy. Very fruity nose with cherry prominent. Cherry and red berry fruit flavours in the palate and it is a little on the

Monday, April 11, 2022

Merlot’s the link in a couple of superb wines from Puglia and Bergerac

Merlot’s the link in a couple of superb wines from Puglia and Bergerac

Amastuola Onda Del Tempo Puglia (IGP) 2015, 14%

€19.50 Lettercollum Kitchen, Clonakilty; Morton’s of Galway; Mary Pawle Wines

Primitivo, Aglianico, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are the grape varieties that give life to Onda Del Tempo (Wave of Time), an organic wine from the warm lands of the south east of Italy (the heel of the boot).

It’s got a dense ruby red colour. Fairly intense too on the nose with red and darker berries in the mix, along with spicy notes. And it is also a little spicy on the palate where it is dry and warming, elegant too. Sixteen months in oak has helped here, tannins are smooth and pleasant. And this complex unusual blend finishes harmoniously, persistent and dry. Very Highly Recommended.

The producers are well pleased with this effort saying it is the “Maximum expression ….. of the garden vineyard.” And that each grape in the blend has “individually each express(ed) their own note”.

Excellent in combination with beef, lamb, pasta, pizza and aged cheeses. Serve at 16-18 degrees.

Puglia has long been noted for its production of olives responsible for close to fifty per cent of the country’s total. Though I should add that a relation, who had some growing there, told me a few years ago that many are just left to rot on the bush. Grapes are the second biggest crop there now, especially those for red wine. 

Terroir Feely Résonance Vin de France Rouge 2017, 13.0%

 €22.00 Ballymaloe Garden Shop at the Cookery School, The Little Green Grocer, Kilkenny, On The Grapevine, Dalkey, Co. Dublin and Mary Pawle Wines

Ruby red in the glass and aromas of black cherry, plum and red berries almost jump out at you. And the palate is packed, deliciously, with flavours of the same fruit, a little hint of spice in the background. Tannins are mid to smooth and, with the fruit and spice staying the distance, there’s a most engaging and lengthy finish. Very Highly Recommended.

Serve at 16-18 °C. This Merlot is an ideal match for lamb and spicy dishes says importer Mary Pawle. Pasta and pizza and dark chocolate, say the winemakers. Personally, I’ve had good experience with Osso Bucco. Generally moderate in both acidity and tannin, Merlot is quite versatile at the table. 

It is also the most widely grown red grape in France, most famously in the Pomerol area of Bordeaux where a bottle of Pétrus could set you back several thousand euro.

Who are the Feelys? In their own words: “When Sean and I (Caro born Caroline Wardle) met in Johannesburg in 1993 we both had a passion for wine. Sean’s grandfather was a winegrower in the Cape of South Africa and I had been sharing a house with a Master of Wine. We wanted to pursue our dream of winefarming so we moved to Cape Town to continue our careers in the heart of the winelands.

Shortly afterwards we had an opportunity to move to Ireland. With Irish roots we jumped at the chance. A year later on our first wine trip to France we were smitten. Eight more years of work and saving and our dream came to fruition.”

The Feelys have one of the best wine websites around. Check up on their wines, yoga, vineyard visits, and accommodation here.  

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Highly Recommended Wines from Puglia and Bordeaux.

Highly Recommended Wines from Puglia and Bordeaux.

Amastoula Aglianico Puglia (IGP) 2017, 14%, Mary Pawle

Manning’s Emporium, Ballylickey; Mortons of Galway; The Connemara Hamper. at approx €17.50

This organic wine from the south of Italy has a deep red colour. It has intense aromas, peppery and toasty with vanilla. And you’ll find all those and more on the warm palate plus red fruit flavours (cherry, plum), juicy, with firm tannins, and there is a persistent finish. Highly Recommended

Aged for 24 months in oak barrels, it goes well with red meats, baked or grilled, game and aged cheeses. Other suggestions: rabbit, chicken with paprika sauce, barbecued lamb.

Aglianico is prominent in the vineyards of Italy’s warm south. Haven’t heard of it? Don’t worry. The Italian vineyards are among the most diverse in the world and hundreds of varieties have been “authorised” for planting and selling as wine, according to Vino Italiano. says Aglianico is known to produce full-bodied red wines that show musky berry flavours with firm tannins and good ageing potential. “Even when grown in hot climates, Aglianico is capable of retaining high levels of acidity, which makes it a particularly useful vine in the Mediterranean.”

Château Peybonhomme-les-Tours “Le Blanc Bonhomme” Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux (AOC) 2018, 13.5%, new to Mary Pawle List.

The Vintry in Dublin and Mannings Ballylickey RRP approx. €25-€27. You'll also spot it in a few restaurants.

I like Bordeaux whites and like them even better if there’s plenty of Semillon in the blend and that is the case here, it is fifty/fifty with Sauvignon Blanc. The classic Bordeaux white will contain at least 25 percent Sauvignon Blanc, to ensure a certain aromatic freshness. For a richer style, a higher proportion of Semillon is used. Muscadelle is the third possible grape in the blend but many Bordeaux whites do not include it.

By the way, if you are ever in the Graves area of Bordeaux, make your way to the small town of Podensac and its Maison des Vins de Graves. With about 200 wines from the area sold at château prices, the vinothèque offers wine lovers a chance to taste red and white AOC Graves and Pessac-Léognan, and the Crus Classés of Graves. There are daily tastings (not of all 200!) but enough to try out a few white blends for sure. You may also take in the Lillet Distillery in the town where the famous drink has been crafted since 1872.

A light gold is the colour of this biodynamic wine. Aromas of moderate intensity feature floral and citrus notes. The flavours are fronted by a ripe citrus flush, a rich progress on the palate, excellent mouthfeel too. Persistent fruity finish too, drier towards the finalé. Well made (it has been 40% barrel fermented), well balanced, delicious and Highly Recommended. 

Well done again to Guillaume Hubert and his team here. The suggested food pairings are Foie gras ravioli, marinated trout, cooked cheeses.

If you’re among the many Irish that have holidayed in or near Royan, then you’ve probably come across the wines of Blaye on sale in markets and so on on that side of the Gironde estuary. Blaye has a gentle rolling pastoral landscape while neighbouring Bourg is more hilly.

The vineyard has been biodynamic since 2000, pruning is double guyot, spontaneous winter grassing, tillage in spring. Treatments combining Bordeaux mixture in small quantities with herbal teas such as horsetail and nettle are used. 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Amazing Amphora Raised Wine by Azul y Garanza from the badlands of Bardenas Reales in Navarra

Amazing Amphora Raised Wine by Azul y Garanza from the badlands of Bardenas Reales in Navarra

Azul y Garanza Naturaleza Salvaje Blanca 2019, 11.5%, €21.90 Mary Pawle

The label info is brief and to the point: Single Vineyard. Made in Amphora. Low Intervention. Unfiltered. Limited Edition. 

Colour is a very light amber, a light cloudiness running through it. There’s an acidic streak in the aromas, reminiscent of cider apples. And those orchard notes come through too on the mild palate where is bright, fresh (strikingly so) and pleasant, a harmonious matching of fruit and acidity, and then a good dry finish. Off the beaten track, just like the place it comes from. Very Highly Recommended.

I regard it as something of a discovery and one that I’ll journey further with. It is produced from Garnacha Blanca in the badlands of Bardenas Reales in Navarra. 

They say: High temperature and no rain during the vegetative process advanced the harvest resulting in grapes healthy and very aromatic skin. The lack of water during summer has concentrated the fruit resulting in a great balance between the degree and acidity. The very poor and arid clay-calcareous soil, the dry weather and and the big contrast of temperature between the day and the night provide grapes with high concentration and a perfect balance. Fermentation: With natural yeast. 10 days of fermentation with skin contact for 5 days.

I’ve enjoyed some delicious red wines from this producers and now I’m off to a brilliant start with their whites.

Amastuola Bianco Salento (IGP) 2019, 13%, €13.69 Mary Pawle

This organic wine is made with a not very well known duo of grapes, Malvasia (75%) and Fiano. Colour here is  light straw. Floral and white fruit notes combine pleasantly in the captivating aromas. And your pleasure increases on the palate, the fruit still prominent, in concert with a lively acidity, all heading towards a citrus-y and persistent finish. Highly Recommended and good value too by the way.

The vineyard is in Puglia in the Southern tip of Italy. Production is organic with “a strong propensity for innovation, sensitive to the environment, culture and knowledge” The wine has been vinified and aged in stainless steel.

They say: Amastuola organic wines are the result of the skilful work of those committed, day after day, to putting into practice and disseminating the values that the Amastuola team strongly believes in, namely: respect for nature and for the neighbour. Whether for a dinner or an aperitif, Amastuola Bianco Salento is the right wine to amaze your guests. Its fresh and smooth-flowing taste makes it suitable to accompany aperitifs, raw seafood, risottos, white meats and fresh cheeses. Serve 10-12 degrees. 

Sunday, September 6, 2020

A Red and White Wine Double from Italy's Heel.

A Red and White Wine Double
 from Italy's Heel.

Antica Enotria Bianco Puglia (IGT) 2018, 12.5% 
This light-straw coloured blend of Falanghina and Fiano comes from the organic vineyards of Raffaele di Tuccio in Puglia in the south east of Italy (the “heel of the boot”). Aromas, floral and pear, are rather delicate. The fruit though is somewhat more assertive on the palate, a crisp and refreshing acidity also features as does a streak of minerality before a reasonably persistent finish. Quite a light and elegant blend, very acceptable as an aperitif and with garden salads and good with fish too. Highly Recommended. Chill it just a little but don’t overdo it.
So what kind of grapes are Falanghina and Fiano, you might well ask. They may not be well-known outside of Italy (mainly in Campania). But, believe it or not, Grapes and Wines say Falanghina “is now one of Italy’s new star white grapes” while Fiano is an “interesting, high-quality and very fashionable southern Italian grape responsible fro Campania’s aromatic Fiano di Avellino…”. Indeed, that particular Fiano is a DOCG wine, the top Italian designation. Sounds like a pair of grapes we need to keep in mind!
By the way, the Roman name for Campania (on the opposite side of Italy to Puglia) was Campania Felix, felix meaning happy. One of the reasons was that much of their favourite Falernian wine was produced here!
Le Caveau tell us that Raffaele di Tuccio bought this run-down farmhouse, dating back to the 1700’s, in 1985 and over the past 30 years has worked tirelessly with his wife, Antonia, and son, Luigi, to bring the property back to life. The vineyards are influenced by the cooling Tramontana wind from the north, and the warming Scirocco wind from the south, giving ideal conditions for their dedication to organic viticulture and lending crispness and depth to the wines.

Natalino del Prete “Il Pioniere” Salentino (IGP) 2017, 15%

Negroamaro can be slightly “farmyardy” in flavour, according to Grapes and Wines. But they go on to say that it can be easier to appreciate if blended with a little of the far more scented, succulent Malvasia Nera (15%), as is the case here.
Colour is a solid dark red. The nose opens on clear and deep notes of overripe red and darker fruit. And that fruit is also found in the flavours on the palate, a warm welcoming wine with a persistent finish. A genuine wine of substance, pleasant with excellent drinkability. VHR
Le Caveau tells us Natalino Del Prete, organic since 1994, is a traditional grower of Southern Puglia. They also say: The Pioniere is fantastic: 70-80+ old vines of Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera,… a total bargain for the quality and the story behind. Super structured but super light to drink, full of sweet spices and charm. 
The wine from the warm lands of Salentino is, as you might expect, particularly suitable to accompany typical dishes of the Mediterranean cuisine. Serve at 16/18 ° C with Aged cheeses, White meat main courses, Red meat main courses. The impurities located in the bottom of the bottle, and I did find a few “grains”, merely serve to confirm the genuineness of the product.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

A Trio of Excellent Wines from Mary Pawle

A Trio of Excellent Wines from Mary Pawle

Château Peybonhomme-Les-Tours “Energies” Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux (AOP) 2016, 13%, €30.00, Mary Pawle

This biodynamic wine from the right bank of the Gironde estuary (those of you who have holidayed in the Royan region may have seen booths selling Blaye wines in the local markets) is outstanding. It is a blend of 60% Merlot, 30% Malbec and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Dark ruby is the colour and there are fairly intense dark fruit aromas with a hint of minerality. It is fresh, light and dry to finish. Fresh and flavourful and packed with those dark fruits. Medium bodied, juicy and light, quite succulent indeed. Excellent acidity help with the food pairings. Tannins are smooth. Young, yet smooth beyond its years. This early maturity means it can be enjoyed now or postponed for up to ten years. No postponing here, Very Highly Recommended as it is.

Interestingly, having been wild yeast fermented in concrete with a week-long, post-ferment maceration on skins,  it is then then aged in Italian clay amphora for one year before being bottled unfiltered and with minimal use of SO2. The terracotta of the amphora has been credited with “assuaging” the power and giving the palate a nice amplitude. 

Day of bottling was determined by the biodynamic calendar. Day of drinking? Seventh of July 2019.

Amastuola “Vignatorta” Puglia (IGP) 2014, 14%, €15.50 Mary Pawle

This blend of Syrah (75%) and Primitivo comes from Puglia in the heel of Italy and is organic. Vignatorta goes perfectly with red meat, game such as venison or wild boar, but also with white meat of poultry, turkey and duck.

Colour is an intense ruby. The aromas are also rather intense, berries and cherries in the mix. Cherry flavours make for a fruity and juicy palate experience; spice is prominent there too. Good acidity is also in evidence while the tannins just about retain their grip. Fruit and spice again at the decent finish. Highly Recommended.

Amastuola “Lamarossa” Primitivo Puglia (IGT) 2015, 14.5%, €19.95 Mary Pawle

My attention wandered after opening this and I was pleasurably sipping away,  thoroughly enjoying it, when I realised that  I hadn’t taken a single note.

This is 100% Primitivo, the twin of California’s Zinfandel, and has the high alcohol content of its American relation. Like the Vignatorta (above), it is organic. In my humble opinion, it is more sophisticated and a better wine than the Vignatorta, a bit more expensive too of course. Ageing is 6 months in oak barrels, 6 months in cement.

Amastuola Lamarossa is a wine suitable for the whole meal, which goes perfectly with both white and red meats. Referred as “a veritable ode to the terroir of Taranto”, this Primitivo IGT has a deep, almost impenetrable ruby-red colour. 

Aromas are intense, featuring  berries and cherries. A very juicy palate, less spice than its stablemate, acidity enough along with quite subtle tannins and persistent finish. A pleasure to drink and Very Highly Recommended.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

SuperValu's Italians. 
On Offer For Next Two Weeks

SuperValu's Italians
On Offer For Next Two Weeks

SuperValu are in the mood to celebrate all things Italian and their wine expert Kevin O’Callaghan is joining in the fun by putting the focus on their range of Specially Sourced Italian Wines which will be on offer for two weeks from Thursday May 11th. 

We’ve enjoyed the five below over the past few days. From the "fashionable" Aglianico to the more traditional appassimento, they are all good (good value too) with the Ammasso just about about shading it  (I might need a re-run!) as our number one of the bunch. 

Tombacco Aglianico dei Beneventano (IGT) 2013, 14%, €10.00 (down from 12.99).

Aglianico, a variety with Greek connections, is prominent in the vineyards of Campania and Basilicata. Haven’t heard of it? Don’t worry. The Italian vineyards are among the most diverse in the world and hundreds of varieties have been “authorised” for planting and selling as wine, according to Vino Italiano.

Aglianico is the dominant red wine grape in the IGT of Beneventano which itself is a thriving IGT in Campania. In Grapes and Wines, it is described as “suddenly one of the most fashionable grapes of a newly fashionable region”.

There are aromas of vanilla, red fruits too, from this deep ruby coloured wine. It is soft on the palate, cherry and plum, a little spice too, plus a decent finish. Elegant and warm and Highly Recommended. Pair with “all red meats and aged cheeses”.

Il Capolavoro Vino Rosso Appassimento, Puglia (IGT) 2015, 14.5%, €10.00 (down from 14.99).

Some of you may have seen Gonzalo Gerardo Higuaín score the goals that gave Juventus a vital away win over Monaco in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final. His contribution was described as “il capolavoro”, the Italian for masterpiece. Might try a bottle of this next time that Higuaín is on telly.

The vinous Il Capolavoro has been produced by using the traditional “appassimento” method, whereby the grapes are partially dried to increase colour and concentration. It has worked well for the Italians over the decades and works rather well here too.

The colour is a rich ruby and you’ll notice the legs are slow to clear. There are intense aromas of dark fruits, chocolate notes too. On the palate, that sought after concentration is pleasantly evident; it is full of flavour with a touch of smooth spice, a hint of sweetness and it is juicy too. Easy drinking and Highly Recommended.

Pairings recommended are: veal, chicken, and pork and any pasta or pizza that comes with a tomato sauce.

Burdizzo Vermentino Toscana (IGT) 2015, 12%, €10.00 (down from 12.99)

Vermentino, a favourite of  mine, may be found “the length of Italy” according to Grapes and Wines but the “best wines come from Tuscany, Sardinia ad Liguria.” Outside of Italy you’ll find some pretty good examples in the Languedoc where it is also known as Rolle.

Vino Italiano considers it “one of Italy’s most distinctive whites” and also highlights the same three regions. Wine writer Fiona Beckett says that many tip Vermentino to challenge the dominance of Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Gris.

Vermentino production in Tuscany, an area where red varieties account for almost 90% of the total vineyard area, has rocketed in the last 10 years, according to Decanter: “…. 2010 found 653 hectares planted to Vermentino. By 2015, the regional government was reporting 1,192 hectares….”.

Our Burdizzo has the colour of light straw. Aromas are of white fruit, with floral and herbal notes, a pleasant mix. Palate is crisp and fresh, no shortage of that white fruit with peach and green-melon flavours to the fore all the way to a long finalé. Highly Recommended.

Barone Montalto Ammasso 2013 Rosso Terre Siciliane (IGT), 14.5%, €15.00 (down from €18.99)

This too uses partially dried grapes, the method known in Sicily as Ammasso. The varieties blended in this gorgeous and complex wine are Nero d’Avola, Nerello Mascalese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A serious work of wine is the result and it is Very Highly Recommended.

Medium ruby red is the colour and the aromas, of dark fruit, are pretty intense. There is a luscious concentrated fruit, hints of sweetness, light spice too; overall, a rather plush wine, tannins just about in play, and the finish is long.

Castellani Arbos Sangiovese, Tuscany (IGT) 2013, 13.5%, €10.00 (down from 12.99) 

Vanilla is prominent in the aromas of this Highly Recommended medium red; darker fruits there too. On the palate, it is smooth and fruity (cherries and plums), drifts of spice too, plus that quintessential acidity (almost an ever-present in Italian wines), and fine sweet tannins make it a pleasure in the mouth and the finish ain't bad either. Great value.

The producer’s aim has been to use the best Sangiovese grapes “to produce a Tuscan red dominated by fruity and spice notes, typical of the grape”. This worthy effort may be enjoyed with red meats and pasta dishes.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Puglia: Two Cool Wines From The Hot Heel Of Italy.

Puglia: The Hot Heel Of Italy.
Two Cool Wines.

La Vigne di Sammarco Salice Salentino (DOP) 2014, 13.5%, €13.91 Wines Direct

Salice Salentino is the area and the grapes are Black Malvasia (20%) and Negroamaro (80%). Salice Salentino is one of dozens of DOC zones in Puglia, the heel of Italy, and the peninsula itself is called Salentino. Even though it is surrounded on three sides by the sea, there is very little cooling of the flat sun-baked land. It once had a reputation for over-ripe fruit and cooked wines. But, thanks to wines like this, that is changing.

You note inviting aromas of red berries when you pour this ruby red wine. There are wonderful ripe berry flavours on the palate, notes of vanilla, slight spice too, the tannins well reduced. Negroamara on its own can be tough and tannic but this property is countered by the Malvasia. The full bodied wine has power and pleasure in generous measure, all the way to and through the persistent finalé.

Very Highly Recommended. Importers Wines Direct recommend pairing it with pizza, bruschetta and lamb stew.

La Vigne di Sammarco Primitivo di Manduria (DOP) 2015, 14%, €13.56 Wines Direct

This another another gem from down south, full bodied, medium acidity, very dry and Very Highly Recommended. Good value too.

Colour is ruby red. It is rich and plum-y, hints of vanilla too; very inviting aromas indeed. On the palate, it is warm and soft, opulent and fruity and this delicious classy Primitivo (the grape known as Zinfandel in the US) has a lovely long finish. You’ll be hard pushed to get a better example even at double the price.

See also (from current Italian series):

Pighin's "Grave wines are bargains". Good too!