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  • 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

  • Augusto Cantele, Pugliese wine pioneer

    The story of Cantele founder Giovanni Battista Cantele’s “reverse” post-war immigration has been told many times.

    In an era when most southern Italians were heading north to find work in the factories of Milan and Turin, Giovanni Battista headed from Imola in Romagna to Lecce in Puglia. He had traveled there many times to broker the sale of grapes to be sent to the north. And while many of his contemporaries continued to operate in the north, traveling south as necessary, Giovanni Battista set up shop in Lecce where he worked directly with growers whose grapes were used to obtain darker color and higher alcohol levels in the cooler climate of the north, where — in a time before climate change — winemakers struggled to quench the thirst of Italy’s emerging middle class.
    Continue reading Augusto Cantele, Pugliese wine pioneer

  • Gianni Cantele on barrique fermentation and aging

    Cantele winemaker Gianni Cantele on his approach to barrique fermentation and aging.

    Here at Cantele, we currently have about 700 barriques, small oak casks used for aging wine. Almost all of them come from French coopers and are made with French wood. 10% of our barriques are made from American wood and are used solely for the aging of our Primitivo.

    A French barrique costs Euro 700. Why am I telling you this? So that you can get a sense of the budget required for a winery that has roughly 700 barriques in its cellar. This is one of the reasons that wines aged in wood casks cost more.

    Many people believe, erroneously, that wood casks are used to give a certain flavor to the wine. The truth is that the wine is conceived in the vineyard and that’s the wine that we put into the barriques. When we’re making an important wine, with a lot of structure, the wine has the muscle needed for cask aging.
    Continue reading Gianni Cantele on barrique fermentation and aging

  • Salice Salentino 90 points Robert Parker for your holiday consideration

    Cantele 2013 Salice Salentino
    90 points

    The Cantele 2013 Salice Salentino Riserva shows a greater level of depth and finesse compared to many of its peers. The wine is packed tight with blackberry fruit, with Maraschino cherry, plum and prune in abundance. The wine is chewy and rich for sure, but it also provides an authentic and generous portrait of a red wine from Puglia. A spicy beef or lamb dish would make the perfect pairing partner.

    Cantele is another exciting winery that represents the energy and the innovation that comes with a new generation. The Cantele family, including siblings Gianni, Paolo, Umberto and Luisa, are symbols of the Salento new wave. They show careful attention to the Negroamaro grape (they even make a Metodo Classico sparkling wine with the variety that is very interesting) and experiment with Verdeca, Fiano, Primitivo and international varieties such as Chardonnay. I had the opportunity to visit the estate this year and learned of the many growth possibilities they hold for the future. For example, they own an abandoned Masseria (rural farmstead) that would make a fantastic visitor’s center or boutique hotel. I know that the next time I come to visit they will have new ideas to pursue. Cantele is a winery that emits a feeling of constant movement and forward-momentum.

    Monica Larner
    Robert Parker Wine Advocate
    August 2016