Puglia is a very fine wine growing region that really does not get the attention it deserves. The major white grape produced there, Fiona, has all the characteristics that you want in an exceptional white wine, and the reds grown in Puglia, Negroamaro, Aglianico and Primitivo make very fine rich and robust wines.
We had the good fortune to be invited to the grand inauguration of the new Zonin estate, Masseria Altemura, on the Salento peninsula in Puglia. This area has become a very hot property over the last few years as more wine and food lovers are delighted by all this region has to offer. These wines are absolutely worth seeking out.
Our visit was based out of the precious medieval city of Lecce where we stayed at the fabulous Patria Palace Hotel.
On the first night we enjoyed a presentation of Masseria Altemura's inspired new wines by the illustrious winemaker Antonio Cavallo and members of the Zonin family and staff. The next day we toured the vineyard and attended the inauguration event.
The first tasting was at the legendary Castello Carlos V. A huge structure built in the 1549 for the then ruling Holy Roman Emporer Charles the 5th. His empire spanned nearly four million square kilometers across Europe, the Far East, and the Americas. It is one of the many many beautiful architectual masterpieces found in Lecce.
The castle has been a site of archaeological exploration and careful restoration and is now a wonderful museum and meeting place. As people gathered for the event my excitement grew helping to relieve my jet lag.
The wine tasting featured the current Masseria Altemura offerings including a Salento IGT Fiano, Salento IGT Negramaro, Puglia IGT Aglianico and Altemura Primitivo di Manduria DOC and Sasseo Primitivo Salento IGT
These wines are truly exquisite. With luscious character and body. We will be writing more about them in the coming weeks as we find them in local markets. One Fiona that we found locally is Castello Monaci which is truely wonderful.
In attendance was Gianni Zonin and Italian Agriculture Minister Paolo De Castro, wine makers of all the Zonin estates and winemaker Masseria Altemura Antonio Cavallo as well as others of the Zonin team and 50 people of the press and wine industry.
Following the tasting were an amazing aperitif featuring locale cuising and a sparkling wine from Masseria Altemura called Rosamaro Salento Brut a delicious sparkling Rose of Negramaro that sips so easily. And Zonin Prosecco.
We enjoyed these dishes and made many new friends.folk music and dancing, the Tarantella.
Tarantella is the folk music and dance that arouse out of ritualistic dancing that honored Apollo, of the god of music and the sun, and the god of wine, Dionysius.
Over the years it evolved and there are many stories that explain its nature.
One version of the dance was used for by women excite the love of her partner in courtship with the speed and liveliness of the dance, the man responds with moves to charm her with his agility, tenderness and elegance. A little like Tango but much more exciting.
Then dinner and more wine.
And Dessert. Every detail was attended to with style and perfection.
The next day we were off to the vineyard deep in the countryside of the districts of Torre Santa Susanna and of Oria, in the heart of the Salento Peninsula, for the Inauguration Read On Here