Throughout 2017 for oenology of Salento the sun shines even if there has been an unexpected rain. Raining indeed for wines made in Salento awards and commendations from the most authoritative and prestigious wine guides, but also deserved recognition by large wine experts and influencers around the world. A proper recognition to the great tradition of this land, which has had a glorious past wine since the time of the Greeks and Romans, and who has found after a dark period made by productions based only to the quantity and not quality, a new manufacturing renaissance. Wine renaissance that has brought in about a 10 years to an absolute quality wine production. We begin our journey through the many mentions as a consolidated reality, which is that of rosè of Salento. The year 2015 perhaps one of the best of latest 15-20 years, was for the Negroamaro grape an exceptional year in terms of the weather condition. Negroamaro, giving rise to the vast majority of Salento Rosati quality, and that with his good year has resulted in the highest level of quality rosé.
We begin our journey through all the Salento wines awarded starting from the flagship wine of this land: the Rosato. Mjere, Rosa del Golfo, Five Roses, Girofle, great wines from wineries that have made the history of Salento rosé, but also Rohesia, Metiusco and Cerasa, many protagonists of Italian enology in pink. Mjere, that made from winery Michele Calò e Figli, historic winery founded in the early 50s, was honored by the Slow Wine guide of Slow Food in 2017 as Grande Vino, only label in Italy with a cost under 10 Euros, to which the award was given. Same recognition for Metiusco 2015 rosé of Palamà winery, important realities of the wine scene of Salento who also won the silver medal at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles 2016. More awards from Slow Food with its Slow Wine guide went to the famous Girofle creature from winemaker Severino Garofano product also rewarded him in 2015 as Slow Wine, and last but not least the historic Rosa del Golfo produced by the homonymous winery Alezio from 1963. The rosè wine producted in 2015, awarded by the famous guide of the snail with the recognition of Vino Quotidiano.
Other major awards went to three other important rosé of Salento. This time the awards come from the top experts in the field, or by the Italian Sommelier AIS. Have in fact received the highest award with 4 Viti on the guide Vitae AIS The famous Five Roses 2015, first rosè to be bottled in Italy by winery Leone De Castris in 1943, then Cerasa, another incredible rosé from the winery Michele Calo e Figli sited in Tuglie and finally Rohesia wonderful wine from Cantele winery in Guagnano, a pioneer in research and care in the vineyard and cellar management. Further recognition from an authoritative guide is to go to another great rosé cellar Rosa del Golfo or Vigna Mazzì Salento Rosato 2014 was recognized as the best rosé wine at the national level by the Veronelli Guide 2017 by winning the coveted Alloro.
Already only the amazing quality and the level now reached by the Salento rosé, wines of the tradition of this area, it would be enough to justify on its own a nice tour of the cellars of Lecce and surroundings. But the great award-winning wines to taste in Salento also include the wonderful full-bodied red wines produced from the two indigenous grape varieties such as Negroamaro, Primitivo and Susumaniello, which in most of the Salento wine production are grown in the field with Alberello Pugliese cultivation, an ancient technique that ensures better plant life in such difficult conditions to drought strong feature of Salento territories.
We start our roundup from red wines awarded with the prestigious 3 Bicchieri of Gambero Rosso. The wines of excellence for the guide in red are for the year 2017 Oltremé Susumaniello 2015 produced by the excellent wine cellar sited in Brindisi, Tenute Rubino, young company projected to become the future of modern oenology, but with a strong local identity, then we have a Primitivo di Manduria, Passo del Cardinale 2014 producted by Paolo Leo winery, dynamic and with a great ability to understand the great ability of our vineyards are located in the area around San Donaci. We continue with a classic oenology of Salento, Salice Salentino Rosso Riserva 2013 Selvarossa produced by Cantine Due Palme, creature of the famous winemaker Gilberto Maci. Another Salice Salentino DOC awarded by Gambero Rosso is the Salice Salentino Rosso 50th vendemmia 2014 Leone De Castris company very well known that born in 1665. Finally a great product of a small winery that makes quality and typicality his battle horse. Three Glasses for the Primitivo di Manduria 2015 Felline from Accademia dei Racemi winery.
We continue the journey between samples oenology Salentine rewarded by the guides of 2017 Reward yourself with the wines from the 5 Grappoli Bibenda 2017, head of the Italian Sommelier Foundation. We start with an excellent wine produced by Tormaresca winery based in San Pietro Vernotico, Marchesi Antinori winery. The wine in question is produced with grapes from the estate that is located in the countryside of Minervino Murge, in the Castel del Monte DOC namely Bocca di Lupo 2012, an Aglianico in purity, an elegant and balanced wine full bodied. Another great wine awarded with 5 Grappoli 2017 was the big Diciotto 2013 of Schola Sarmenti, a Primitivo produced from vineyards sapling 80 years old. A wine to 18° Alc./Vol, giddy, deep and inebriant, a wine also awarded 91 points by the independent guide Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. Another red starred Bibenda 2017 with its highest award is Portulano 2013, the award winning winery Rosa del Golfo, a bland of Grapes Negroamaro 90% and Malvasia Nera Leccese 10% with a 3-year aging in the cellar.
Finally we conclude with a flourish with 5 Grappoli Bibenda assigned to a large Negroamaro produced by Severino Garofano winery, Le Braci Salento IGT Negroamaro 2010 that also won 92 points of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate guide, and later 4 Viti on the guida Vitae 2017 AIS, and this described the unmistakable qualities of this great Red of Salento. To stay within the guida Vitae 2017 AIS, Graticciaia 2012 from Agricole Vallone winery won in addition to the 4 Viti, also Tastevin, the prestigious award in recognition of wines and grapes of the highest quality and representative of the whole region of origin. This wine made from Negroamaro grapes partially dried in the sun was also awarded the mention Slow Wine by the Slow Wine Guide 2017, and does not now need an introduction being a symbol of oenology of Salento in the world.
Another symbol of the wine scene of Salento is the famous ES from Gianfranco Fino. Primitivo di Manduria 2013 brings home a very high score 18.5/20, awarded by the guide L’Espresso I Vini d’Italia 2016. Another fine wine from the famous award-winning guide 2017 edition L’Espresso I Vini d’Italia 2016 is Salice salentino Mani del Sud 2012 product from the famous winery Apollonio sited in Monteroni di Lecce, which was selected among the top 100 in the category I 100 vini da bere subito. We conclude thee trip between the statements of the 2017 guides with two great wines valued at a very high score 91/100 by the guide Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and are respectively 62 Anniversario Primitivo di Manduria DOP Riserva 2013 of the San Marzano winery, big and important name of Great views wine of Salento and Artas 2013 another Primitivo produced by the renewed winery Castello Monaci with its vineyards in the agro area around Salice Salentino.
We end this series with 5 wines that have not been mentioned by official guides of 2017 but which were nevertheless rewarded in international wine competitions. They are only part of the Salento wines awarded during the year 2016, but we have some excellent wines like those reported so far.
The first mention we want is another Salice Salentino, Falco Nero Salice Salentino Riserva 2009 made in Cantine De Falco winner of the national contest Selezione del Sindaco 2016, promoted by the City of Wine. Won the competition with the highest score of 94.50 points out of 100. We continue with three award-winning wines in the international wine competition AWC Mondus Vini of Vienna 2016. Gold Medal to Fiore di Vigna Primitivo 2014 Paolo Leo. And two silver medals respectively for Papale Primitivo di Manduria DOP 2013 of Leporano Varvaglione vigne e vini winery and Negroamaro Cento su Cento 2011 from the winery of Castel Di Salve. We close the fantastic parade with a wine which in recent years has become a classic of oenology of Salento and that is the best Susumaniello in purity in the world, Torre Testa 2013 of Tenute Rubino who got the gold excellence certificate to Merano Wine Award 2016.