Friday, July 29, 2011

Time to Get Your Wine Tasting On in Lecce: Barocco di Vino

Stefano Belfiore was kind enough to send this along. Lecce's streets will be taken over by 40 local wineries on August 10th, 2011, from 7pm to 2am. This type of event is one of the best ways to taste wine in Puglia because all of the wineries come together. Instead of setting up appointments and renting a car, you just pay 10 euros and stroll the beautiful baroque streets, imagining the great 16th and 17th centuries, when King Charles V and Bishop Aloysius Pappacoda provided funds and roused the minds of great local architects, such as Giusseppe Zimbalo and Cesare Penna.

I've been to tons of events like this in Lecce, and I imagine Barocco di Vino will be a lot like Calici di Stelle, which usually takes place in August. The event will consume the town; the streets will be paved with wine; the parties will go into the wee hours. Here's a video of last year's Calici di Stelle:

Since August is a very busy time in Lecce, I have a couple tips for getting the best out of your experience.

1) Show up exactly when the event begins and purchase your wine glass before the lines become insufferable.
2) Steer clear of the pizza in front of Santa Croce: it becomes a sea of people. Visit the wineries on the smaller streets, where the lines are almost non-existent.

Below is a photo of a worker cutting Lecce stone, aka pietra leccese. That's one big saw blade! Have fun and feel free to share your experiences here on By The Tun.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Life of a Vegetable Costs More than the Life of an Animal

I know I just posted, but NPR's latest report on obesity in Italy and the disappearance of the Mediterranean diet has fully creeped me out. I wake up to NPR every day, and the first words I heard today were "We'll tell you why Italians are abandoning the Mediterranean Diet." I just wrote an article on the Mediterranean Diet and I was initially worried that a new scientific study found the diet unhealthy and that I'd have to retract the article ("The times, they are ah changin'" and fast: I wrote an overview on Northern Ireland two months ago, stating that the violence that once ravaged the area had been over for nearly a decade; then Belfast turned into a riot zone two weeks later.). Anyway, NPR's report wasn't about a new scientific study but about the fact that Italy has the largest obesity rate in Europe. What happened to all those good vegetables, fruit, olive oil, and fish? They got expensive. Now people eat meat because it's less expensive than tomatoes. There's something wrong. Very wrong.

But this news doesn't reflect every region in Italy. As I wrote in my article, soon to be published, fruits and vegetables, fish and olive oil, are still major components of the daily diet of Pugliese. Puglia has remained uninfluenced by the agendas that Europe, and America, have been pushing. But how long will the region hold out? For that matter, how long will we hold out? We who pay dearly for our artichokes, red peppers, and olive oil? Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Like my mother always told me.

The Puglia Wine Review: Archives - Before May 2011

After tasting so many Puglia wines, I thought I'd put a collection of reviews together.

Puglia wine review lists:

Top 10 Primitivo Wines from Puglia of 2010
Top 10 Negroamaro Wines from Puglia of 2010
Top 5 Rosé Wines from Puglia of 2010
List of Stand-Out Wines from the Apulia Wine Convention (2009)
Best Wines of 2009 ( many Puglia wines included)

Individual Puglia wine reviews:

2004 Sumanero (100% Susumaniello), Cooperativa Santa Barbara Winery
2004 Graticciaia (100% Negroamaro), Agricole Vallone Winery
2008 Liante (100% Negroamaro), Castello Monaci Winery
2007 Primitivo di Manduria DOC (100% Primitivo), Attanasio Winery
2006 Salice Salentino DOC (90% Negroamaro, 10% Malvasia Nera), Vecchia Torre
2007 Diciotto Fanali rosé (100% Negroamaro), Apollonio Winery
2005 Sine Pari (100% Nero Di Troia), Azienda Monaci
2003 Notarpanaro (85% Negroamaro, 15% Malvasia Nera, Taurino Winery

Puglia wine reviews covering multiple wines at a time:

Puglia Wine Review:
2008 Capoposto by Alberto Longo
2006 Sine Die by Azienda Monaci

Puglia Wine Review:

2003 Piromáfo by Valle Dell'Asso
2003 Santufili by Mocavero
2004 Suavitas Salice Salentino DOC Riserva by Ionis
2007 Copertino DOC by Leone de Castris
2008 Neama by Consorzio Produttori Vini
2005 Sine Pari by Azienda Monaci

Puglia Wine Review:

2006 Felline Primitivo di Manduria DOC by Racemi
2006 Lirica by Consorzio Produttori Vini
2003 Rubinum by Soloperto

Puglia Wine Review:
2008 Serene Bianco by
Consorzio Produttori Vini
2008 Galatina Bianco by Valle Dell'Asso
2008 Alticelli by Cantele
2008 Scirocco Rosato by Pirro Varone
2008 Rosato by Cantele

Puglia Wine Review:
2000 Divoto Rosso Riserva DOC Copertino by Apollonio
2007 Fanali Rosato by Apollonio
2007 Emera IGT by Castello Monaci
2007 Arcione Brindisi Rosso DOC by Botrugno
2006 Teresa Manara Rosso by Cantele
2007 Santi Medici IGT by Castel di Salve
2005 Rosso DOC Salice Salentino by Feudi di Guagnano
2004 Barbagli IGT by Cooperativa Santa Barbara
2005 Leverano DOC Riserva by Vecchia Torre
2006 Salore Salice Salentino DOC by Cantine De Falco
2008 Messapia IGT by Leone de Castris

Puglia Wine Review:

2001 Salice Salentino DOC by Apollonio
2005 Cappello Di Prete by Candido
2004 Salice Salentino Riserva DOC by Cantele
2006 Amativo IGT by Cantele
2008 65 Anniversary Five Roses by Leone de Castris
2007 Salento Rosso IGT (100% Ottavianello) by Botrugno

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Puglia Wine Review, July 1, 2011

In this month's Puglia Wine Review I review two Primitivo wines and a Chardonnay. The Primitivo wines were blind tasted along with a few American-made Zinfandels. It was a fun experiment, and it was east to distinguish between the two. In general, the Primitivo wines tasted more concentrated and rich with dark fruit, whereas the Zinfandels were lighter and had more spice. As always, I found the following wines in local wine shops in Portland, Oregon.

Cantina Salvalai's 2008 "Flaio" Primitivo Salento
Rating: 8.5
Price: $11.50
Where to Buy: Woodstock Wine & Deli
Short Review: Like a book of poetry, there's a lot going on for 12 bucks

This wine was the favorite of the blind tasting. It has a huge nose of cooked blackberry and it smells just the tiniest bit hot. For such a big nose, I expected this wine to be big. Instead, it was light in flavor profile (not aggressive) and balanced. It is a little hot, but this heat balances very well with the tannins and the acidity. Medium bodied. NOTE: The winery that makes this wine uses grapes grown in Puglia, but it makes the wine just outside Verona.

Cantele's 2008 "Primitivo" Puglia IGT
Rating: 4
Price: $11.50
Where to Buy: Pastaworks on Hawthorne
Short Review: Expected more

This wine had the most interesting nose of the tasting, with medium dark fruit, caramel, vanilla, nutmeg, and coriander. With all these aromas, you'd expect it to be big, but the nose was less concentrated than the Flaio. In the mouth, the flavors of the wine let me down. Mouth is full bodied, tannins across the gums, with a little dried fruit and leather. The wine tasted hot, and the heat cut through the finish, obscuring flavors.

Tormaresca's 2009 Chardonnay IGT
Rating: 2
Price: $9.79
Where to Buy: Fred Meyers (8955 SE 82nd Ave)
Short Review: I don't like to be mean...

I just want to say two things before the review. One, Tormaresca makes many wines that I like. Two, it gives me no pleasure in disliking a wine. The wine has almost no nose at all, but there's some melon. The mouth is off putting to my taste buds. Tastes of wet dog, really, and it is not very clean, especially on the finish. For the price, there are better chardonnays.

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