Malvasia Nera, an essential component in classic Salice Salentino (and great for jam!)

Earlier this week (Sunday to be exact), here’s what Cantele grape grower and winemaker Gianni wrote on his Facebook about the Malvasia Nera he and his family were harvesting.

Today we are also harvesting a little bit of Malvasia Nera, an increasingly rare grape variety in the classic field blend for Salice Salentino DOC.

And a crate or two will also end up in the able hands of my mother so that she can make her fantastic grape mostarda (jam).

Cantele is one of the few Salento producers who continue to use the traditional blend for Salice Salentino.

Malvasia Nera’s natural sweetness and aromatic character help to balance the earthy and dark chocolate flavors of the Negroamaro, the primary grape in the appellation.

By blending in a small amount of Malvasia (usually around 5 per cent in the case of Cantele), winemaker Gianni obtains a nuanced equilibrium of umami and fruit flavor in the wine.

And the grape variety’s natural sweetness also makes it perfect for mom’s jam!

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