Roséxpo, a celebration of Salento’s superb rosé wines and a great kick-off for summer

rose festival pugliaLast weekend, winemaker and grape grower Gianni Cantele spoke at Roséxpo, an annual rosé wine festival held in Lecce now in its third year.

The event is organized and presented by deGusto Salento in conjunction with a growing number of Salento-based producers of rosé. deGusto Salento’s mission is that of promoting awareness and raising the visibility of the fantastic rosé wines that are produced in the region.

The production of rosé wines from Negroamaro grapes is a relatively recent trend in Puglia. “Recent” in the sense that it only stretches back 60-70 years and is just a drop in the cask when it comes to the ancient tradition of winemaking in the heel of Italy’s boot.

But it wasn’t until 10-15 years ago or so that wine professionals and wine lovers in the United States began to embrace and champion rosé (or rosato in Italian) produced using Negroamaro.

Today, it’s not uncommon to hear American sommeliers praise Negroamaro as one of the best grapes in the world for the production of rosé.

In the case of Cantele’s rosé from Negroamaro, the wine is made from grapes that go into one of the winery’s top wines, the Salice Salentino Riserva. As winemaker Gianni macerates the must with the grape skins to achieve the characteristically rich color of the wine, he racks off (i.e., he draws off some of the wine early on when it’s still rose-colored.

The resulting wine is one of Cantele’s most popular and sought-out in the United States market and it’s a fantastic food-friendly wine that really works well with the flavors of summer (fish tacos are a favorite pairing for our blogmaster).

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