It is often said that Apulian white wines, especially the Salento ones, are good to drink only fresh, as soon as they are harvested. Good for the summer, with good aromas, moderate freshness and lots of alcohol. But for those looking for elegance, evolution, tertiary aromas, Salento is certainly not in the thoughts of those seeking to find wines of such a nature. On the contrary, even in our deep south with a traditional vine – even if a little neglected like the verdeca – it is possible to obtain results that are incredible. This is the surprise we had today with a wine produced as the first vintage: Acine 2017 produced from the first harvest tackled by Fracesco Taurino with his new small company founded in 2017.
The Potential of Puglia Verdeca grape
Verdeca wine does not seem to have marked characteristics. It does not have the aromaticity of Fiano, Malvasia Bianca or Minutolo, or the versatility of Chardonnay. Instead, it is a vine that proves to be very park in everything, from aromas to acidity, from color to structure, up to the sugar concentration. All in the average of a white wine that has nothing that defines or makes it unique. Yet, over the years this vine – especially in the wine produced by Francesco Taurino – seems to be able to give incredible emotions. Virtually no oxidation, still perceptible acidity. The primary aromas have now almost completely disappeared but on the other hand – waiting a few minutes – in the glass the wine opens into a range of secondary and tertiary aromas of a great white wine. Hawthorn and then fresh herbs such as hay, a little moss and a lot of dihydro naphthalene, the classic smell of kerosene much sought after in the Riesling .
An intriguing and fascinating wine that captures the attention of the most experienced aficionado. Wine that manages to amaze any nose and palate with its delicacy and elegance. In short, a really big surprise this Acine 2017 verdeca that made us discover, with this small mini vertical, the potential of a vine that will surely surprise even more in the future.
Negroamaro Rosato the King of Salento
After talking about the great surprise in white, we could not avoid tasting the same vintages also in pink. Obviously, here we played at home, with a vine that we know is perfect for the production of rosé wines and capable of giving great wines for aging, both in red and in rosé. Well, in the case of Espra the Negroamaro rosato of the Taurino house we were able to taste 4 labels, starting from 2017 up to arrive at the last and very recent 2020 harvest. That this rosé could last a few years in the bottle was quite evident, but that it would appear at its top starting from 3 years in the bottle, we just did not imagine this.
Espra 2017 was already extraordinarily evolved. A bottle that has maintained ease of drinking, acidity and a lot of freshness, showing no signs of oxidation and presenting itself with a slightly orange color that those who know negroamaro know to be absolutely natural after 4/5 years in the bottle.
The evolved Negroamaro Rosato by Francesco Taurino
But the top came by tasting the 2018 . Espra 2018 with its beautiful dark coral color already heralded its splendid shape. In fact, here is the wine you do not expect: sumptuous, rich and complex, with hints ranging from cherry to cloves with a fruit that is still lively but with an elegant hint of spices. On the final bitter almond and an exceptional length with the tannin still evident but which slips away caressing the palate. Obviously, 2019 was also very good with a much more perky freshness, acidity and pigment, but it did not reach the optimus of balance and pleasantness that the previous year gave.
The future of Salento viticulture
After this unprecedented mini vertical made with all the bottles produced by the Francesco Taurino company, we understood one thing: Verdeca and Negroamaro are vines capable of producing elegant wines suitable for evolution in the bottle for several years. Many experiences conducted in recent years have shown without any doubt that Salento is now ready for the big step. That is, that the wine future of this land will focus not only on the production of ready-to-drink white and rosé wines, but of wines capable of holding up and improving over time. We also understood that if you are lucky enough to have a few bottles of Acine or Espra by Francesco Taurino at home, you must keep them jealously because it can give you great emotions even in a few years.