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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!

  • Harvest 2019 comes to an end…

    Those are some of the very last Negroamaro grapes that winemaker Gianni Cantele and his team harvested last week.

    The bunches will be used to make Cantele’s top red wine, the Teresa Manara Negroamaro.

    A native grape variety of Puglia (the heel of Italy’s boot), Negroamaro is considered by many to be the region’s top red grape. Traditionally blended with smaller amounts of Malvasia Nera to make the Cantele Salice Salentino, its rich flavor and freshness also make it suitable for barrique-aging (as in the case of the Teresa Manara, made from 100 percent Negroamaro grapes).

    Gianni is very happy with this year’s harvest and expects the wines to be classic in style.

    No one really knows the origin of the grape name, although some believe it to mean bitter red [grape], possibly inspired by the fact that it is an excellent grape to use in the production of dry red wines.

    Others think that the name might be a hybrid compound of Latin and Greek meaning red-red [grape], perhaps because Latin and Greek were once spoke in Puglia, a former Greek colony that was ultimately conquered by the Romans.

  • The bees know when it’s time to harvest the Negroamaro

    “The bees,” wrote winemaker Gianni Cantele on his Facebook this morning, “tell you a lot more than any grape refractometer could! We’re ready to pick!”

    A grape refractometer is a handheld device that allows growers and winemakers to measure the brix (sugar levels) in the berries in the vineyard without having to take them to the lab for analysis.

    But who needs one when you have the bees???!!!

    Let the Negroamaro harvest begin!

  • Wine Spectator features Cantele Rosato

    With harvest well under way here in Salento at the Cantele winery, we couldn’t have been more thrilled to learn that Wine Spectator has featured our Rosato from Negroamaro as one of the editors’ top rosé wines for the summer of 2019.

    In “10 Rosés for One Last Hurrah,” senior editor Alison Napjus offers this tasting note for the 2018 Cantele Rosato (88 points), one of the magazine’s recommended wines for Labor Day weekend (the official end of summer in the U.S.):

    “A bright and buoyant rosé, with an appealing mix of mulberry and white cherry, almond blossom and pink grapefruit sorbet. Tangy finish.”

    Click here for the complete review (subscribers only).

  • Wine Folly — the number one wine blog in the world — recommends Cantele Salice Salentino

    It’s always nice when a wine writer recommends your wine.

    It’s even nicer when a top wine writer recommends your wine on the number one wine blog in the world!

    We couldn’t have been more thrilled to learn that veteran wine writer and New York Times contributor Stacy Slinkard included Cantele’s Salice Salentino in her post this week on “the Best Italian Red Wines for Beginners” on Wine Folly.

    Click here for her post and for the other Italian red wines and producers she recommends.

    Thank you, Stacy! And thank you, Wine Folly!

  • 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

  • “Best value.” Wine Spectator on Cantele Salice Salentino…

    Here’s what Wine Spectator Italian editor Alison Napjus has to say about the Cantele Salice Salentino, a wine she has included in her “best value” round ups.

    Cantele Salice Salentino
    89 points
    BEST VALUE

    Juicy flavors of ripe wild strawberry and red licorice mark the start to this light-to medium-bodied red, with supple tannins lending some structure and weight. Savory accents of garrigue, loamy earth and star anise echo on the finish.

    The wine has also been included by Wine Spectator senior editor Tim Fish in his Memorial Day recommendations for summer grilling.

    Click here for his blog post.

  • Varius, a new blend: Susumaniello and Negroamaro

    After a two-year hiatus, we are celebrating the return of Varius, a wine that represents an on-going “experiment” in the Cantele portfolio. As its name reveals, it is a “variation” of traditional Pugliese blends. We had taken a break from this label because it was time. Starting in 1999, the blend has included Negroamaro, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Montepulciano. In one of the last blends, Merlot took the place of Montepulciano. And the final “variation” was a wine made solely from Merlot grapes.

    In this new version from the 2016 vintage, Varius is a blend of Negroamaro, the king of Pugliese grapes, and Susumaniello, a variety that originated in the Balkans. Its name comes from the fact that it was once considered a workhorse grape, a somarello or donkey in Italian, thanks to the density of the grape bunches as they ripen. Today, of course, growers keep the yields low but the name has stuck. It’s been a few years that we have been thinking about working with this historic Salento grape variety from, which has been only recently revived by winemakers here. It has a very small berry, with a high concentration of polyphenols and anthocyanins. Rich in color and low in acidity, it’s the ideal partner for Negroamaro (with its lighter color and higher level of acidity). The result is a fresh and youthful wine, aged in stainless steel, with good structure and approachability.

    Continue reading Varius, a new blend: Susumaniello and Negroamaro

  • Rohesia: rosè without compromise

    The first vintage of Rohesia has been such a thrill for us. And now, this new rosé — vinified from the same grapes used for our flagship wine, Teresa Manara Negroamaro — is in its second vintage. But it’s already become a wine that stands out from the crowd.

    The second incarnation has been even more positively received than the previous. It’s thanks to this wine’s strong identity and the fact that it doesn’t compromise on any level: It’s a wine whose integrity has never been shaped by fleeting trends of the marketplace.

    The 2014 harvest was challenging. Because of summer rains that affected all of Italy, the weather conditions delivered a wine whose color is less intense than in the previous vintage. Vinification of a rosé wine always requires a technical approach that takes into account the variables of any given vintage. Maceration of the grape must before fermentation takes place at a low temperature. It continues until the desired color is achieved. In the case of Rohesia, this generally takes up to 24 hours. But the process is also closely linked to the desired tannic balance. As a result, the amount of time in which the must is left in contact with the skins varies from vintage to vintage as does the final color of the wine.

    Continue reading Rohesia: rosè without compromise