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

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!