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  • Puccia: Salento’s “anything goes” sandwich

    Just like every time our English-language blogger visits the winery, he asks to be taken for a puccia — Salento’s famous “anything goes” sandwich (above).

    Across the city of Lecce, you can find sandwich shops that serve just one type of sandwich: The puccia (pronounced POO-chah), a made-on-the-spur-of-the-moment flatbread that can be stuffed with a wide variety of ingredients.
    Continue reading Puccia: Salento’s “anything goes” sandwich

  • Getting lost in Lecce, one of life’s great pleasures (photo essay)

    In another era, Lecce — the ancient capital of the Salento peninsula — was one of the richest cities in the western world.

    A hub between the east and the west, it was a major commercial center for trade and transport. And thanks to its stature, it was also a cultural center where Greek and Balkan traditions blended in with Roman and later Italian science and arts.

    By the end of the 17th century, Lecce had also become renowned for its unique style of baroque architecture.
    Continue reading Getting lost in Lecce, one of life’s great pleasures (photo essay)

  • Coming soon to America: Teresa Manara Chardonnay 2017, a “spectacular vintage”

    Winemaker Gianni Cantele is extremely pleased with the results from the 2017 harvest and he expects this vintage of Teresa Manara Chardonnay to be spectacular.

    The Cantele family made history when it planted and began producing Chardonnay in Puglia in the 1990s. Today, the wines are considered benchmarks for the region.

    Despite its renown in Italy, the wine has just become available in the U.S.
    Continue reading Coming soon to America: Teresa Manara Chardonnay 2017, a “spectacular vintage”

  • Sottocuoco: A new app from Lecce that connects food lovers with chefs and home cooks.

    Earlier this month, Paolo Cantele and Cantele’s English-language blogger attended the launch of a new and truly innovative app called Sottocuoco in Lecce (Salento, Puglia).

    The concept is as simple as it is brilliant: The app allows users (known as forchette or forks) to connect with professional chefs and home cooks who, for a fee, will either deliver a meal to your home or visit your home to prepare a meal in your own kitchen.

    The start-up was inspired by a new trend that is spreading rapidly across Italy and Europe: Mostly through word-of-mouth, career chefs and food professionals have been making extra money by working as private chefs and caterers; and talented home cooks, who abound in Italy where creative and traditional home cooking is considered much more than just a pastime, have been following in the footsteps of their career and professional counterparts.

    Not only is the concept so promising and appealing that it has attracted major investment from Italian venture capitalists, but it has also received an endorsement from one of Italy’s leading high tech pioneers, Matteo Achilli, who has been dubbed the “Italian Mark Zuckerberg” by the Italian media.
    Continue reading Sottocuoco: A new app from Lecce that connects food lovers with chefs and home cooks.

  • Cantele wines on their way to the U.S.!

    You may have seen the news on the Shanken News Daily blog or on WineBusiness.com: Cantele is now imported in the U.S. by legacy importer Winebow.

    The Cantele family couldn’t be more thrilled by this new and exciting partnership. And the best news is that Winebow has decided to bring some of the estate’s top wines to the U.S. for the first time.

    The first containers are expected to land shortly and they will include the follow wines:

    Chardonnay
    Teresa Manara Chardonnay (NEW!)
    Rosato
    Primitivo
    Salice Salentino
    Teresa Manara Negroamaro (NEW!)
    Amativo

    There are a few other labels that will be making the voyage across the Atlantic as well and we’ll post updates here on the blog as they come in.

    But in the meantime, our English-language blogger will be posting technical info and tasting notes for all the wines that will be landing in just a few weeks. He was recently in Salento where he visited the winery and sat down with export manager Paolo Cantele to taste all the new releases headed for the states.

    Stay tuned: We’ll post the first in the series later this week.

    Hello U.S.A.! Here we come!

  • Primitivo: The meaning of the grape name

    Perhaps more than any other grape variety, Primitivo has been intensely scrutinized by wine historians and geneticists.

    See, for example, the Wiki entry for Primitivo/Zinfandel, where the editors give an excellent overview of the tide of scholarship that has been devoted to the grape, including Charles Sullivan’s excellent monograph Zinfandel: A History of a Grape and Its Wine, published in 2003 by University of California Press.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that the intense attention that has been devoted to Primitivo is owed to the immense popularity and commercial success of Zinfandel in the U.S.
    Continue reading Primitivo: The meaning of the grape name

  • Wine Enthusiast: “Cantele’s Negroamaro Rosato is a great top sirloin pairing.”

    We couldn’t have been more thrilled to read this Wine Enthusiast story on pairing rosé wines with steak by rising-star wine writer Jacy Topps.

    “Nicely structured,” she writes, “a Negroamaro rosé flaunts aromas of dark berries and licorice, and has a spicy, tannic finish. Cantele’s Negroamaro Rosato is a great top sirloin pairing.”

    Jacy is one of the wine world’s brightest new voices and we loved how she riffed on one of our favorite food and wine pairings.

    Click here for the complete article and review.

  • Cantele launches new partnership with Winebow

    I couldn’t be happy to share the following news with you.

    The Cantele winery — a third-generation, family-owned and operated estate in Puglia — is beginning a new partnership with the premier importer of fine Italian wines in the U.S., Winebow.

    Since its founding in 1979 by my grandfather Giovanni Battista, Cantele’s award-winning and highly rated wines have been a benchmark in Italian and Pugliese winemaking for 40 years. Our brand is one of Italy’s most esteemed and beloved and we sell our wines throughout the world, including northern Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

    Founded in 1980, Winebow has reshaped the Italian wine market in the U.S. by introducing some of Italy’s most iconic wineries to American restaurateurs, retailers, and consumers. Today, its distribution network is considered the gold standard among Italian wine trade members and observers.

    We couldn’t be more thrilled about this new adventure. There’s no doubt in our minds that Winebow has the prestige, the national reach, and the sales team that we need to continue to build our brand in north America.

    —Paolo Cantele

    About our family’s winery:

    The Cantele estate is a third-generation family-owned and run winery founded by the current generation’s grandparents, immigrants from the north who settled in Puglia’s Salento peninsula after WWII. Known for its pioneering work with Chardonnay and its passion for native grapes Negroamaro and Primitivo, Cantele delivers high-quality, value-driven wines.

    Salento is renowned for high-quality wine thanks to abundant ventilation, temperate weather, extreme diurnal shifts in summer, and limestone-rich soils. Over the last two decades, Cantele has implemented a cutting-edge “minimal intervention” system in its vineyards, thus ensuring freshness and varietal expression.

  • Barrique-fermented Chardonnay at Cantele

    This September, winemaker Gianni Cantele shared the photo below on Facebook.

    Those are French barriques, 225-liter oak casks, used for fermenting the winery’s flagship Teresa Manara Chardonnay. Check out the Facebook post where he also shared video of the wine as it begins to ferment.
    As Gianni explains, some of the barriques are new while some of them have already been used for two or three vintages.

    After fermentation is complete, he will blend the wine using all three “expressions” of the vintage — from new, 2-year, and 3-year casks.

    Continue reading Barrique-fermented Chardonnay at Cantele

  • Negroamaro: origin of the grape name

    A post from our American wine blogger Jeremy Parzen, author of DoBianchi.com.

    The “numerous synonyms” of Negroamaro, write the editors of Jancis Robinson’s excellent Wine Grapes (New York, HarperCollins, 2012), “suggest that Negroamaro is an old and historically widespread variety. Its etymology and origin are disputed: some authors suggest a simple etymology from negro (‘black’) and amaro (‘bitter’), while others supposed a Greek etymology and origin from mavro (‘black’), despite the redundancy of ‘black black’, referring to the historical links between Puglia and Greece. Since Negroamaro’s DNA shows no relation to modern Greek varieties, the ‘black-bitter hypothesis’ seems more logical. In addition, a variety named Negro Dolce (‘black sweet’) is documented in Salento in the nineteenth century, probably to distinguish it from the better amaro one.”

    As a philologist, I might tweak their speculation that the “black-bitter hypothesis’ seems more logical.” After all, etymology is rarely logical however plausible. In other words, word origins seldom align as neatly as the human mind and heart would like.
    Continue reading Negroamaro: origin of the grape name