So great to see this wine getting the attention it deserves.
“Wow, this is excellent value,” writes Monica Larner for Robert Parker.
Here are her tasting notes and score…
Cantele 2016 Rosato
This is a cheerful rosé from the deep south of Italy that opens to a bright pink-raspberry color. The 2016 Negroamaro Rosato is a distinct wine that boasts high individuality. The bouquet is almost savory in character with wild sage, dried fruit and cherry cola. This is a robust and medium-bodied rosato that stands a notch higher in terms of intensity next to many of its peers. Wow, this is excellent value.
This dynamic winery in the southern tip of Puglia shows some of the best values across the board in this roundup of Italian wines priced under $25. Congratulations to the winemaking team at Cantele for achieving such remarkable volume versus value margins. Case production on the three wines listed here are pretty big, ranging from 100,000 to 300,000 bottles of each wine.
Italian wine reviewer
We were thrilled to receive news that the Cantele 2016 Late Harvest Chardonnay Teresa Manara was awarded 95/100 points by Daniele Cernilli, one of the world’s great Italian wine experts and critics, founder and longtime editor of the Gambero Rosso guide to Italian wines and now editor of an immensely popular online wine portal, Doctor Wine.
The score will be officially presented in October of this year when he presents Doctor Wine’s new guide to the wines of Italy.
Above: Cantele winemaker and grape grower Gianni Cantele discusses the winery’s approach to cask aging. Some might be surprised by his insights. Cantele became a pioneer of cask fermentation and cask aging in Puglia when it first began producing its flagship Teresa Manara Chardonnay 20 years ago.
We currently have about 700 barriques, small oak casks used for aging wine. Almost all of them come from French coopers and are made with French wood. 10% of our barriques are made from American wood and are used solely for the aging of our Primitivo.
A French barrique costs Euro 700. Why am I telling you this? So that you can get a sense of the budget required for a winery that has roughly 700 barriques in its cellar. This is one of the reasons that wines aged in wood casks cost more.
Many people believe, erroneously, that wood casks are used to give a certain flavor to the wine. The truth is that the wine is conceived in the vineyard and that’s the wine that we put into the barriques. When we’re making an important wine, with a lot of structure, the wine has the muscle needed for cask aging.
Cantele began picking its prized Chardonnay this week, grapes that will become its flagship white wine, Teresa Manara Chardonnay. Winemaker Gianni Cantele is extremely pleased with the results of this years harvest and he expects this vintage of Teresa Manara to be spectacular.
The Cantele family made history when it planted and began producing Chardonnay in Puglia in the 1990s. Today, the wines are considered benchmarks for the region.
Despite its renown in Italy, the wine only became available in the U.S. last year. And we are definitely looking forward to sharing it with our American friends in years to come.
Click here for the technical details on the current vintage release (2016).
Evviva Teresa Manara!
From the Cantele Winery website:
This wine is named after Teresa Manara, grandmother to the current generation of the Cantele family and the woman who inspired her husband to resettle in Salento, a land that had swept her off her feet when she first saw it on a business trip with him.
Mother, grandmother, wife, and muse, she continues to be a guiding light for the family and its wines, including its flagship Chardonnay and Negroamaro, named in her honor.
She traveled across Italy at a time when only men were allowed to do business. And her indomitable spirit lives on in these unforgettable wines, which were created by her son Augusto in the 1990s using select grapes from top vineyards.
Cantele set the standard for Italian Chardonnay when founding winemaker Augusto Cantele began experimenting with picking times and temperature-controlled fermentation in the 90s.
Puglia’s limestone soils are ideal for producing fresh, balanced, and richly flavored Chardonnay with mineral backbone.
A top pairing for Pugliese crudo and Puglia’s Japanese inspired cuisine.
A note on Cantele’s Chardonnay from the Cantele winery site:
Augusto Cantele changed the course of Puglia viticulture when he first began to grow and vinify Chardonnay in Salento in the early 1990s. After years spent studying winemaking and working in wineries in northern Italy, where Italy’s white production was focused at the time, not only had he nurtured a taste for fresh, fruit-driven whites, but he also had developed his immense skill and experience in growing practices and vinification techniques used in the production of top white wines.
Even before he returned to Puglia to join his family’s winery, he had long dreamed of making Chardonnay in his family’s adoptive homeland — Puglia’s Salento peninsula. When the estate began releasing its first white wines, he became a pioneer of Chardonnay production in the region.
Today, the winery’s bottlings of Chardonnay — from its youthful Chardonnay to the French barrique-aged Teresa Manara — are considered benchmarks for the category.
Click her for a technical fact sheet.
The Cantele estate is a third-generation family-owned and run winery founded by the current generation’s grandparents, immigrants from the north who settled in Puglia after WWII. Known for its pioneering work with Chardonnay and its passion for native grapes, Cantele delivers high-quality, classic wines at great prices.
The narrow Salento peninsula is renowned for high-quality wine thanks to abundant ventilation, temperate weather, extreme diurnal shifts in summer, and limestone-rich soils. Over the last two decades, Cantele has implemented a cutting-edge “minimal intervention” system in its vineyards, thus ensuring freshness and varietal expression.
Freshness and varietal expression are the two key elements in Cantele’s winemaking style. Winemaker Gianni Cantele starts with the highest quality estate-grown fruit and strives to maintain the fruit’s natural aromas and flavors. All wines are vinified in stainless-steel and the top wines are aged in neutral cask.
Cantele winemaker Gianni Cantele shared the above photo on his Facebook last week: gorgeous Chardonnay bunches from the 2018 harvest.
They’re almost ready to pick, he writes.
This year, “all we need to do is crush and ferment,” he says.
That’s how good he expects this harvest to be.
That fruit will become Cantele’s top Chardonnay, “Teresa Manara.”
Click here for Gianni’s post and a couple more photos from this year’s Chardonnay harvest.