Ray Isle features Cantele and iSensi in September issue of Food & Wine

food wine magazine pugliaGianni and Paolo Cantele and their iSensi cooking school are featured in a profile by Ray Isle for the September 2014 issue of Food & Wine.

“For decades,” writes Ray Isle, Food & Wine executive wine editor and one of the most popular writers in the U.S. today, “most Pugliese wine was sold in bulk to northern Italy.”

“‘I remember my grandfather working all day to send wine out of Puglia — these huge trucks taking wine up to make vermouth,” says Giuseppe Cupertino, sommelier for Due Camini at the Borgo Egnazia resort, one of the region’s top restaurants. ‘They’d come to my hometown in November, truck after truck after truck — even late at night. I’d see their lights driving away.'”

“Augusto Cantele was one of the first local winemakers to try to change that situation, and he worked for decades to raise people’s awareness of Puglia’s extraordinary potential. Now his sons, Paolo and Gianni, are running the Cantele Winery with the same ambition.”

Click here to read a complete version of the article.

Challenging vintage but healthy grapes nonetheless says Gianni

best negroamaro grapesHere’s what grape grower and winemaker Gianni Cantele wrote on his Facebook this week…

Objectively speaking, the 2014 harvest is not going to be an easy one.

With unusually abundant rainfall in our otherwise arid (?????) Salento, it’s reassuring to see our Negroamaro grapes in such great condition [above].

Now let’s just hope that the weather forecasters get it wrong…

Mom’s eggplant alla parmigiana for a tired winemaker after a day of harvest

puglia eggplant recipe lecce“Between my work in the vineyards and in the cellar, I live the harvest in the first person,” wrote grape grower and winemaker Gianni Cantele on his Facebook this evening after returning home from a backbreaking day of harvest.

“Every year it’s a new challenge that I make to myself. Sometimes it knocks you up against a wall and forces you to make rapid decisions that you can never take back. The exciting thing is that it’s different every year.”

“The only thing I know for certain is that my mother will always ‘parachute’ in just at the right moment with provisions: eggplant alla parmigiana. Thank you, mom!

“You’ll note that this is the ‘under-the-weather’ version of this dish: it’s not fried and it doesn’t include meatballs. But it has all the other ingredients used in the Salento version. It’s a sight to see!”

Waiting for the grapes…

Harvest always teems with emotion. Here’s what Paolo posted on the Cantele Facebook late last night:

Grape bunches in the shade of broad leaves. The sound of pruning shears at dawn. A good sound for trying something with your eyes closed: every time those blades close, moments drop to the ground together with the grape bunches. A heap of moments and sudden memories relived: vigils, persons, places. For some, the days of harvest are like a camera obscura where deeply personal images have been captured.

grape harvest italy 2014

Perfect Negroamaro! More harvest notes from Gianni

From Gianni’s Facebook, posted earlier this week…

negroamaroOne of the strange things about this vintage is the level of ripening and veraison [onset of ripening] of late-ripening red grape varieties like Negroamaro [above] and Montepulciano.

Now we just need the tramontana [the north wind] and some sunny days and we’ll have a great harvest.

As I’m writing this, I’m crossing my fingers and everything else I can!

Look at the fantastic Negroamaro [in the photo] from Filippi in Salice Salentino! It’s the result of a perfect pairing of clone and rootstock. The funny thing is that this happened by chance! And it shows that we still have much work to do in understanding how to get the best from this grape variety.

Gianni Cantele
grape grower and winemaker

Gorgeous Fiano! Harvest notes from winemaker Gianni Cantele

The Cantele family is gearing up for harvest 2014. It’s been an unusual vintage, in part because of an unusually mild winter in Italy. But things are shaping up nicely. The following are notes from grape grower and winemaker Gianni Cantele.

fiano vineyard pugliaAbove: Fiano in Pulsano township (Taranto province).

One of the most beautiful vineyards of this vintage. Truly impeccable, with balanced production and totally on track for ripening. The ripeness should be perfect toward the end of next week.

It’s not actually an indigenous grape variety. But it’s beautiful to see its loosely compact bunches and its slightly oblong berries and still “sturdy” skins.

The kind of lab results that you dream of! 18.5° Babo (21.79° Brix), 8.3 g/l total acidity, and 3.13 pH.

It’s been a strange vintage and I’m already thinking about how I can get these grapes to give their best when we ferment them.

Gianni Cantele

fiano variety puglia