The Puglia Wine Review, June 1, 2011

As usual, the Puglia wines I'll be reviewing this week I found in local wine shops in Portland, Oregon.

Casa Girelli's 2006 "Virtuoso" Primitivo Puglia IGT
Rating: 9
Price: $13
Where to Buy: Woodstock Wine & Deli
Short Review: Against my better judgment, it's excellent

Long Review: Here's my guess. An international winemaker assists Casa Girelli, and he wanted to make a true Primitivo with the tannic structure of a Tuscan-style wine, say Chianti. He wants the best of both worlds. Primitivo lacks strong tannins, so he used tons of new oak to give a woody tannic finish that leave the mouth feeling very dry. Am I right? Don't know because I can't find any info on the company's winemaker(s). But here's the point: I don't like overly oaked wines, and this wine might come off as overly oaked to the staunchest of non-new oakers, but it does a great job at tasting like a Primitivo and a wine from Puglia even though it's made in the town of Trento in the Veneto. So high marks for Connectedness and Typacity.

Nose of concentrated dark fruit, rubber boot, and cola. Flavors of extinguished fire, cigar box, berries and cream, and blackberry. Finish is very woody, with cedar and oak. The wood gives it a lot of structure, and it can pair with very complex, powerful dishes. At the end of the bottle, I truly loved this wine (to my surprise), and for the price it is an incredible budget wine from Puglia.

Leone de Castris's 2009 "5 Roses" Negroamaro rosé
Rating: 7.5
Price: $20
Where to Buy: Vino Vixens
Short Review: A supple, strong rosé that won't back down from no one

Leone de Castris invented Italian rosé. You might think I'm speaking figuratively, but they actually were the first winery in Italy to bottle rosé. "5 Roses" retains its edge. I associate it with words like "dreamy" and "sunset." The nose has citrus, raspberry, and orange. It drapes across the palate; it is minerally and viscous with a medium body. It is dry, crisp, and smooth. But it's all about the finish, which is exceptionally long. The tannins are strong enough to stand up to many complex dishes. It is not a light rosé from France or a sticky sweet rosé from Napa Valley. Unfortunately, you have to pay for such character, and twenty dollars puts it on the expensive side, especially when you're comparing it with Oregon's locally made rosés. But if you can afford it, I highly recommend it.

(Note on Rating System: I balance my rankings between quality and price, both elements go toward 50% of the rating)


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