Cantele Chardonnay

CLASSIFICATION: I.G.T. Salento.

GRAPE VARIETY: 100% Chardonnay.

PRODUCTION AREA: Guagnano (LE), Montemesola (TA).

TRAINING: Guyot (5,000 plants per hectare).

HARVEST: First ten days of August.

VINIFICATION: The grapes are destemmed, crushed, and gently pressed. The must is cooled to 10° C. in order to allow for natural fining. Alcoholic fermentation is carried out in stainless-steel vats at 15° C.

AGING POTENTIAL: A wine that will maintain its freshness and flavor for 2 years.

COLOR: Straw yellow with hints of green.

NOSE: Notes of lily, magnolia, juniper, and linden are followed by ripe fruit and seductive herbaceous aromas.

PALATE: The alcoholic structure and freshness in this wine reward the wine lover with its drinkability and approachability. Its rich finish mirrors its aromas with great balance.

PAIRING: Seafood in general, particularly mollusks and shellfish.
Vegetables and soft cheeses.

SERVING TEMPERATURE: 11° C. (52° F.).

Late harvest Chardonnay & mamma’s eggplant parmigiana

late harvest chardonnay

Grape grower and winemaker Gianni Cantele posted this beautiful photo of late-harvest Chardonnay on his Facebook this week.

But the photo that had us salivating like Pavlov’s dog was the one he posted of his mother’s melanzane alla parmigiane (eggplant parmigiana), that unlikely and irresistible pairing of the fruits of southern Italy (yes, eggplant is a fruit and not a vegetable) and one of the great food products of the Italy’s north, Parmigiano Reggiano.

eggplant parmigiana recipe

“My harvest exile in the cellar continues,” writes Gianni, who, like all winemakers during this period of the year, literally lives at the winery without being able to return home. “I’m beginning to miss my bed and the comforts of home. But I will stoically carry on.”

“There are two things that give me the strength not to give up: Negroamaro grapes worth shouting about (a great vintage!) and my mother’s eggplant parmigiana.”

Goodnight Chardonnay see you tomorrow (Chardonnay harvest is complete)

chardonnay fermentation

Above: “Goodnight, Chardonnay, see you tomorrow,” wrote Paolo Cantele on his Facebook on Friday night. Below, a note from winemaker Gianni Cantele.

After two weeks of intense work, Saturday was the last day of the 2013 Chardonnay harvest. There’s no doubt that this is a good vintage. As it dripped out of the soft presses, the must had a rich aroma that I hadn’t smelled for a long time.

It’s the first indication of a vintage that is very likely to be high in quality.

Of course, after an observation like that, whether or not you believe in superstition, you had better knock on wood, iron, or other things that I won’t specify here.

The wine cellar has been invaded by the aromas of fermentation and I’m very happy about the results so far.

My grandmother Teresa was Romagnola through and through, a very practical woman. She loved to say, chi si loda, si imbroda. Literally, it means, he who praises himself, always spills the soup on himself. In other words, pride comes before a fall.

So you won’t hear me singing my own praises. But I will sing those of the people who have been working with us for some time now.

I can say that I have a team of splendid persons who work with the synchronicity and precision of a symphony orchestra. They are all highly talented.

Vincenzo, il responsabile della cantina, mi da la sicurezza di vedere messe in pratica tutte le indicazioni che do durante la giornata.

I know I can always rely on Vincenzo, my cellar master, who carries out my instructions flawlessly throughout the day.

And then there are Claudio, Diego, Antonello, Carlo, Andrea, Salvatore, and Giuseppe.

They are all as tough as nails and accumstomed to getting their hands dirty. They know that the quality of our wines is owed in part to them.

Then there is Lorenza, my guardian angel in the laboratory. And Mariapia, who, like me, studied food technology but then began working in enology. This year, she’s been giving me a hand in managing the technology.

Wine is made in the vineyard, of course. But if you don’t work with precision and passion in the cellar, you’re bound to wind up with a big mess on your hands!

Gianni Cantele

Long days and a few mechanical mishaps with harvest well underway

A note from winemaker Gianni Cantele:

chardonnay fermentation puglia italy

Above: Chardonnay 2013, tank 27. Fermentation is well underway. I wish I had an app that would allow you to experience the aroma! Happy summer vacation, everyone!

Ugh. Maybe I was too optimistic.

The first day of harvest went fine. Then there was a whole series of minor mechanical mishaps. I’ve never seen something like this where everything went wrong at the same moment.

But man can’t allow himself to be one-upped by machines, especially when all it takes to fix things is a little bit of elbow-grease and a big hammer.

We have some long days ahead of us. We get up at dawn to coordinate our work in the vineyards with our agronomist Cataldo Ferrari. Then we rush to the cellar to check up on the must from the day before. We keep it chilled for 12 hours and we need to make sure that it remains clear until the right moment. We also need to make sure that the presses are prepped for new grapes and that the refrigerator repairman is willing to interrupt his summer vacation to come fix a refirgerator that’s on the fritz.

Man, why oh why does everyone in Italy have to take their vacation in August!!!???

From this point onward, I’ll have to deal with the delicate magic of fermentation and the anxious waiting for the shy bubbles to appear on the surface of the must.

Then we’ll stand by and watch as billions of Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells begin to attack the must. That’s when that extraordinary, unique aroma invades the cellar. Have you ever smelled it? It’s a pity if you haven’t. And if you want to, you know where to find me!

Stay tuned…

Harvest in Puglia has begun! A note from winemaker Gianni Cantele

best chardonnay italy

Above: Chardonnay, ready to be picked, from Cantele’s top vineyard, destined to become the winery’s flagship white, Teresa Manara Chardonnay, dedicated to winemaker Gianni’s grandmother.

The first day of the 2013 harvest has been entered into the logs without any problems.

The elves who work the crushers and presses (which haven’t been fired up for a year now) didn’t play any of their usual pranks and it’s all running smoothly.

Yesterday’s work in the cellar was the classic general trial run: it helps the winemaker to peel off that inevitable patina of rust and to find the right pace and rhythm that can be taught by the harvest. You love it, you hate it, and then you love it once again.

Today we have begun working in earnest.

When I got up this morning, I thought of my grandmother, Teresa Manara, and of my many memories of her. They make me return to childhood.

And I thought of my father Augusto, who taught me everything I know. He has entrusted me with the task of continuing to create the wine dedicated to his beloved mother Teresa Manara.

Gianni Cantele
winemaker

Chardonnay

chardonnay

CLASSIFICATION: I.G.T. Salento.

GRAPE VARIETY: 100% Chardonnay.

PRODUCTION AREA: Guagnano (LE), Montemesola (TA).

TRAINING: Guyot (5,000 plants per hectare).

HARVEST: First ten days of August.

VINIFICATION: The grapes are destemmed, crushed, and gently pressed. The must is cooled to 10° C. in order to allow for natural fining. Alcoholic fermentation is carried out in stainless-steel vats at 15° C.

AGING POTENTIAL: A wine that will maintain its freshness and flavor for 2 years.

COLOR: Straw yellow with hints of green.

NOSE: Notes of lily, magnolia, juniper, and linden are followed by ripe fruit and seductive herbaceous aromas.

PALATE: The alcoholic structure and freshness in this wine reward the wine lover with its drinkability and approachability. Its rich finish mirrors its aromas with great balance.

PAIRING: Seafood in general, particularly mollusks and shellfish.
Vegetables and soft cheeses.

SERVING TEMPERATURE: 11° C. (52° F.).

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