Puglia: Drop in 2015 yield due to heavy rain last week

“The rainstorms [last week] in Taranto province have caused significant damage in some of the best growing zones,” said Coldiretti Puglia president Gianni Cantele in a statement to posted last week on Terranostra Puglia’s Facebook.

“In those vineyards that had yet to be picked, Primitivo grape bunches were particularly affected. We have begun monitoring the situation and we are verifying the damage.”

“We are also very concerned about grape prices in Salento where we have seen a drop of 10-15 percent in the production of Negroamaro owed to cooler temperatures. In northern Puglia, they’ve had a drop of up to 30 percent.”

“For this reason, during next Tuesday’s meeting of the grape growers and winemakers committee, we are asking Puglia’s Superintendent of Agricultural Resources to allocate aid that will help wineries and winemakers.”

Pierce’s Disease crisis in Salento: A “crime against humanity”

The following note appeared last week in the comment thread of a Facebook photo album posted by Davide de Lentinis. He’s an online retailer of farming and gardening products who lives in Salento, Puglia, where olive trees are dying in a seemingly uncontainable Pierce’s Disease (Xylella fastidiosa) epidemic. In the introduction to the album, he notes that the government claims there are only roughly 600 trees that have been affected. But according to news reports, thousands of trees have been afflicted — some of them more than 1,000 years old. His aunt Daniela comments that she has seen countless diseased trees near her home. Davide responds…

olive trees puglia xylella fastidiosaAristotle wrote that every nation has the government it deserves.

Aunt Daniela, if you could take a few photos early tomorrow morning, we’d all appreciate it.

There are still a few idiots who continue to claim that there are just a few dried up trees here in Salento. There are others who try to confuse the issues. And there are others yet who want to play the part of the environmental knight in shining armor: They brag that they are conducting experiments in regenerative agriculture. And there are even those who have used this tragedy for political gain.

Many others are circling in the skies above Salento like hungry vultures. They are waiting like chicks in the nest to gobble down funds intended to “prove” that it’s a problem with the soil!

Thousands of people are at risk of losing everything. Not just the olive growers but other members of the community, as well, like plumbers, electricians, and house painters.

But beyond the economics of this crisis, just think of the environment and the carbon dioxide that these trees are no longer assimilating in order to give us oxygen.

Right now, a crime against humanity is being committed in Salento.

Davide de Lentinis
(translation by Cantele USA)

Puglia’s rich collection of Ancient Greek and Roman art and artifacts: The Taranto Archeological Musuem

greek vase collections italy southern pugliaAbove: Detail of a painted vase from ancient Greece at the Taranto Archeological Museum.

On Saturday (August 15, Ferragosto, a national holiday in Italy), winemaker Gianni Cantele visited MARTA, the Archeological Museum in Taranto (Puglia).

“It was wonderful to see the famous collection of [ancient Greek and Roman] gold jewelry,” he wrote, “and the enormous amount of artifacts.”

The image above (posted on Gianni’s Facebook) is a painted vase from ancient Greece. Note the gold laurel wreath that the central character is wearing.

The image below was also snapped by Gianni during his visit.

Check out the museum’s site here (including a solid English version).

ancient greece greek laurel wreath gold

Coldiretti begins planting olive trees as growers in Salento continue to wait for government action

pierces disease xyella pugliaThe Puglia chapter of Coldiretti, the Italian national confederation of farmers and food producers, has begun planting new olive trees in Puglia where olive groves have been decimated by Pierce’s Disease (image via Gianni Cantele’s Facebook).

As literally thousands of infected olive trees are being grubbed up to stop the spread of the recent Pierce’s Disease outbreak in Puglia, this week Coldiretti (the Italian national confederation of farmers and food producers) began planting new trees that it believes will be resistant to Xylella fastidiosa the pathogen that causes the disease.

(For background, click here for recent New York Times coverage of the crisis.)

In the face of government inaction, growers and bottlers are becoming increasingly concerned that too little is being done to save their livelihood and guarantee that future generations of Pugliese growers will be able to carry on in a tradition of olive oil production that spans millennia.

In the meantime, Coldiretti has begun working unilaterally to help revive the industry.

“Two symbols of hope for Salento olive growers,” wrote Puglia Coldiretti president Gianni Cantele on his Facebook this week, “a young Leccino [olive cultivar] planting and the Coldiretti flag. Today, we have shown that we represent real business owners who still believe in what they are doing.”

Even if you don’t speak Italian, please see this video. It shows not only the Coldiretti tractors as they campaign to raise awareness of the crisis facing Pugliese growers but also includes some shots of infected trees and new plantings.

Lamb shank and Negroamaro in Maryland at Monocacy Crossing

best lamb shank recipe baltimore marylandIt’s not hard to understand why the chef at Monocacy Crossing in Frederick in West Maryland would suggest pairing his Rosemary Braised Lamb Shank with Cantele’s Salice Salentino.

After all, the wine is fresh and bright in the glass with just the right amount of tannic structure to work with the unctuous quality of the rich meat without overwhelming the earthy flavors of the dish or the wine.

I should know: My wife Tracie and I opened a bottle the other night at home (sadly not paired with Monocacy Crossing’s lamb shank!) and we loved how the zinging acidity and balanced tannic structure worked with our own dinner (of marinated chicken tacos).

We’ve never been to Monocacy Crossing, which is so named because it lies near a bridge that crosses the Monocacy River, which, in turn, takes its name from the language of the native American Shawnee.

But we’ve heard that there is a new and bustling food scene emerging there in Western Maryland.

To gauge from the excellent Monocacy Crossing menu, there’s a lot more happening in quiet Frederick, Maryland than one might think!

Thank you, Monocacy Crossing, recommending and pouring Cantele Salice Salentino!

Monocacy Crossing
4424A Urbana Pike
Frederick, MD 21704
(301) 846-4204

Image via the Monocacy Facebook page.