For your Thanksgiving consideration: Salice Salentino, 90 Points Robert Parker

linea_canteleCantele 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

Congratulations, Christine Veys, Sotto’s new wine director!

christine-veys-wine-sotto-los-angelesLast month, Paolo Cantele traveled across the United States from New York to the California coast and met and visited with some of the top wine professionals in the country (and in the world, if you count Master of Wine, author, and critic Jancis Robinson).

Last but not least on his itinerary was an evening at Sotto in Los Angeles, a restaurant where the wine list has celebrated the wines of southern Italy since its inception more than five years ago.

The list there was created by the Cantele English-language blogmaster, Jeremy Parzen (also the author of DoBianchi.com). And it’s been called one of the most “interesting wine lists” in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Times and one of the “best places to drink Italian wine in Los Angeles” by Los Angeles magazine.

The week of Paolo’s visit, the restaurant announced that general manager Christine Veys (above, left, with Paolo) has now been named Sotto’s new wine director. Christine started at Sotto as a server and moved her way up to become a manager and then general manager. And over the last five years, she’s begun traveling to Italy regularly, attending the Italian wine trade fairs, and establishing herself as one of America’s leading Italian wine-focused wine professionals.

It’s been wonderful to follow her career and to taste with her over the years (she tastes with Gianni and Paolo every year at Vinitaly). And the Cantele family couldn’t be more thrilled by her success and her personal and professional achievement.

Congratulations, Christine, on your new and much deserved title! And congratulations, Sotto, for your continued excellence as an ambassador of Italian wine in the U.S. and for your new wine director. She’s a keeper!

Salento rosé, a tradition that stretches back to Roman times

linea_cantele2015_rosatoWe were intrigued to read this wonderful post on the history of rosé winemaking in Salento by Adele Elisabetta Granieri, contributor to the popular Italian wine blog, Luciano Pignataro Wineblog.

In Salento, people often talk about the birth of rosé wines in the period that followed World War II. But Granieri points to Roman-era documents where rosé winemaking techniques and practices are described in detail.

The Romans regularly drank “wine obtained from newly pressed juice,” she writes (translation by our blogmaster).

What we would call “free-run juice,” in other words, the first must obtained by the weight of the grape bunches on one another, was called protropum by Roman naturalist writer Pliny, she explains.

“Columella called it mustum lixivium. It was mixed with honey to make mulsum, a beverage widely enjoyed at the time, traditionally offered to travelers.”

Perhaps owing to its nature as free-run juice, this form of winemaking was called a lacrima, in other words, tear-drop fermentation (lacrima means tear, as in crying, in Italian and Latin).

The first must to be obtained was vinified separately, writes Granieri, and was considered easy-drinking wine.

There are mentions of this technique, she notes, stretching back to the Renaissance and beyond.

According to her post, the tradition of rosé winemaking thrived in Salento until the phylloxera era and French protectionist policies that decimated the Pugliese wine trade. It wouldn’t be until the years following World War II that legacy winery De Castris would popularize Salento rosé again.

Thank you, Adele, for this awesome post!

Bobby Stuckey, Master Sommelier and champion for Italian wines

bobby-stuckeyDuring his recent trip to the western U.S. (between Colorado and California), Paolo had the opportunity to meet and taste with some of the top wine professionals working in Italian wine in the U.S.

That’s Paolo (above, right) with Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey, co-owner of one of the best Italian restaurants in the country, Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, home to a celebrated and award-winning Friuli-focused menu and wine program.

A much beloved figure in the north American wine community thanks to his generous mentoring of young and up-and-coming wine professionals and master sommelier candidates, Bobby has amassed an impressive collection of awards and accolades over the course of his career: He is the winner of both the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurant Service (French Laundry) and the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Wine Service (Frasca), among others.

In his work, Bobby wields an unbridled passion for and knowledge of Italian wines and Italian gastronomy in general. And while there have certainly been many excellent italophile restaurant professionals who have come before him, what sets Bobby apart from the rest is the way he seamlessly combines his passion and seemingly innate palate for Italy and its wines with the high caliber of wine service and professionalism that was once reserved (in another era) solely for the wines of France.

To watch him work his dining room as he pours an aged Ribolla Gialla for one table and a fresh bottle of Pinot Grigio (the real stuff, mind you) is to watch a young Cassius Clay float like a butterfly among his peers.

A scholar of Italian vintages, a gentleman among “busboys” (as he likes to call himself), and an athlete (marathon runner and triathlete) to boot, he is one of world’s unrivaled champions of Italian wine. And we all should be thankful for that.

Thank you, Bobby, for taking time to connect and taste with us while we were in Boulder. We LOVE Frasca!

Jancis Robinson! What a thrill to meet the world’s greatest wine writer…

jancis-robinson-bookHow could we not share this photo of Paolo with Jancis Robinson, Master of Wine, editor of the Oxford Companion to Wine, co-editor of Wine Grapes, wine critic for the Financial Times, sommelier to the royal family…!!!???

Paolo met her last week while he was attending the Boulder Burgundy Festival in Colorado, where Jancis was the keynote speaker.

Not only is she considered the greatest wine writer in the world today, but she is always one of the nicest people we’ve ever met in the wine trade. She was so generous with her time and graciously let us snap this photo of her with Paolo.

She, winemaker Étienne de Montaille, and festival founder Brett Zimmerman MS led a wonderful seminar and guided tasting of Domaine de Montille wines. The sold-out crowd, which included a number of master sommeliers, seemed to hang on every word.

Following her appearance at the festival, Jancis headed to New York to promote her new book, 24-Hour Wine Expert (Abrams 2016), which is now available on Amazon (among other online bookshops).

Is the pizza in America better than the pizza in Italy?

best-pizza-neapolitanAbove: The “Diavola” pizza last night at Pizzeria Locale in Boulder, Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan Patterson’s immensely popular Italianate pizzeria.

Paolo and the Cantele English-language blogmaster are currently on the road in the U.S. where they are attending the Boulder Burgundy Festival.

Last night, they had the opportunity to eat Pizzeria Locale, Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey and award-winning executive chef Lachlan Patterson’s immensely popular pizzeria, which is modeled meticulously after the classic pizzerias of Naples (in both décor and the style and execution of the pies).

After dinner, as Paolo and his colleague chatted with a group of food and wine professionals who had gathered there, Paolo posited that the pizza in the U.S. is better than the pizza in Italy.

He qualified this statement by explaining that beyond Naples, it’s really difficult to find superb pizza in Italy whereas in the U.S., nearly every major city has top quality pizzerias (like Bobby and Lachlan’s Locale) where food-fired ovens imported from Naples churn out authentic-style pizzas made with artisanal ingredients.

Pizza has played such an important role in the propagation of Italian cuisine in the U.S., from the GIs returning home from the Second World War to the second and current wave of Neapolitan-inspired pizzaioli and their pies. And there’s no doubt that there are myriad pizzerias in the U.S. today that consistently deliver delicious, wholesome, traditional-style wood-fired pizza. (Paolo will be visiting another such pizzeria in a few days in Los Angeles.)

No matter how you slice Paolo’s observation, the pizza at Locale last night was excellent and we highly recommend it!

Stay tuned for more posts from Paolo’s adventures on the road in the U.S.

Pizzeria Locale
1730 Pearl St.
Boulder CO 80302
(303) 442-3003
Google map