This is a dream: Angelo Laveneziana, a young Sommellier living in London, thinks to himself as he samples some of the best white wines from the I Pastini vineyard in Locorotondo, in the Valle d’Itria of Italy. Working in collaboration with Green Puglia, Angelo reviews the relatively undiscovered white wines of this region.
When we speak of Puglian wines, many people automatically think of big bold reds, which are increasing in popularity, both nationally and internationally amongst wine enthusiasts. However, there’s so much more to Puglian wines, and the true workhorse behind this new phenomenon is the humble white grape, which is receiving an increasingly broad consensus on the part of those who enjoy sipping quality in the glass.
In particular, we are talking about the long rows of vines of Verdeca, Fiano, Minutolo (from 2013) and Bianco d’Alessano from I Pastini, in the Valle d’Itria. The vineyard stretches along the route of the railways of the South-East, and almost seem to embrace the ancient village of Locorotondo. Here the long dry summers and mild winters, combined with the continuous ventilation, and a predominantly calcareous soil, makes the white wine in this region, quite unique.
For many years, the Brut Verdeca has been recognised as a good quality sparkling white wine, which is excellent with appetizers, first courses, Mediterranean vegetables, fresh cheeses and seafood salads.
Its tantalising bubbles, have delicate floral notes, with green apple accents, citrus fruits and a hint of freshly cut grass. This is truly a showcase for those who are fond of bubbles!
Another Puglian grape variety which deserves a mention, is Minutolo. It seemed destined to disappear, if it were not for some winemakers, like Gianni Carparelli, who has been able to exploit, with resourcefulness and passion, its true potential.
The Minutolo shows a pale yellow colour, with delicate floral and fruity aroma that is supported by a balanced acidity. Last year during a meeting organized by ‘Slow Food’ in Poland, I Pastini was awarded a medal for the up and coming Minutolo wine 2013.
The result of this guided tasting, made it possible to appreciate the potential of the Minutolo grape that, thanks to its fresh aroma, it maintains structure and complexity, and over time, gives way to new aromas of ripe fruit.
Adopt a Vine
In fact, it is possible to join the Winemakers club of Valle d’Itria, and adopt rows of vines of various varieties. Each member runs their own vineyard with the guidance of I Pastini, and they can watch the vines grow and mature, harvest and trim their vines. As a result of their labour of love, each member receives several bottles of wine of their chosen grape variety. This project is a fantastic way to promote local grape varieties and to encourage local people to be enthused by the wine of this region.
Puglian wines are becoming even more varied and palatable, and many products are produced at zero kilometres, using indigenous red grapes. But finally, the remarkable white wines, which will give satisfaction to the most demanding of palates, are beginning to shine through, and sipping a glass of white wine from Valle d’Itria is gaining momentum.