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  • A new Thanksgiving tradition: Teresa Manara Negroamaro

    It’s been an exciting year for Cantele in the U.S.

    Earlier this year, the winery launched its new partnership with Leonardo LoCascio Selections (Winebow), the number-one importer of Italian wines in the U.S. today.

    And for the first time since Cantele began selling its wines in the U.S. decades ago, the winery’s flagship Negroamaro — the Teresa Manara Negroamaro — is now widely available in the country.

    Like the estate’s flagship Chardonnay (Teresa Manara Chardonnay), it’s named after Teresa Manara Cantele, the woman who inspired the family to move to Puglia’s Salento peninsula three generations ago.

    It’s made with the estate’s top selection of Negroamaro grapes, picked at ideal ripeness to produce a full-bodied, rich but lithe expression of Salento’s noble red grape variety.

    We are particularly happy that it has finally made its way to the U.S. because we believe it’s a wonderful wine for the classic Thanksgiving meal, fresh on the nose and palate but with enough structure and smooth tannins to make pair well with Americans’ favorite holiday dishes.

    Feel free to email our American blogmaster Jeremy if you need help finding Teresa Manara Negroamaro at a wine shop near you.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American friends!

  • Homemade taralli (and Cantele rosé) at Gradisca in New York

    How could we not share the above photo from one of our favorite restaurants in New York City?

    Those are taralli, the classic savory snack from Puglia, homemade at Gradisca in Manhattan, one of the city’s leading Italian culinary destinations.

    The folks at Gradisca, which is named after the famous character in Federicao Fellini’s classic film Amarcord, take most of their inspiration from Emilia-Romagna (be sure to try the tigelle btw!).

    But they also venture out into other regional cuisines of Italy, like these taralli (from their Facebook).

    Technically a savory shortbread, taralli are baked using just flour, olive oil, and salt — Pugliese flour and olive oil, of course!

    Some believe that they originated as a sort of friendship ring that travelers could carry with them.

    Our English-language blogger once heard Master of Wine Jancis Robinson say that they were possibly the best accompaniment to wine tasting (no joke!).

    Not only will you find fun specials like this at Gradisca, but you can also drink Cantele Rosato there.

    We couldn’t be more proud to be part of this extraordinary program.

    Gradisca
    126 W 13th St.
    New York NY 10011
    (212) 691-4886
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  • Thank you to Il Brutto in Austin for a great wine dinner (and FANTASTIC orecchiette)!

    Paolo Cantele just completed a whirlwind trip through the U.S. working with the estate’s new American importer Winebow.

    He literally crisscrossed the country, visiting more than 12 cities along the way.

    In Texas alone, he hit three cities, including Austin, the state capital, where he hosted a wine dinner at one of the city’s hottest new Italian restaurants, Il Brutto.

    Executive chef Erind Halilaj’s team totally nailed the traditional Pugliese menu they served that night, including the classically prepared housemade orecchiette (above) — one of Puglia’s signature pastas.

    Man, this dish was spot on: From the al dente texture of the hand-rolled pasta to the gentle seasoning of the tomato sauce and the coarse shredding of the fresh ricotta, Paolo noted that this one the most authentic Puglisese dishes he’s ever eaten in America. The pairing with the Cantele Chardonnay was only topped by the Salice Salentino with grilled lamb, another Pugliese standby.

    General manager and wine director Charity Sadoy’s Italian list is so thoughtful and balanced, remarked a wine writer who attended the event, with selections that reflect her deep knowledge of and inspired passion for Italian wine. So many sommeliers go for the funky and the off-beat these days. Charity’s program captures what’s great about Italian wine today — from the traditional to the experimental. And the bar makes a pretty mean Negroni, too!

    Thank you, Il Brutto, for one of the best nights of the trip!

    Il Brutto
    1601 E. 6th St.
    Austin TX 78702
    (512) 580-8779
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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

  • 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.