Salice Salentino: How to pronounce it…

One of the biggest problems that Italian wine continues to face is the pronunciation of its grape names and appellation names.

Over the last 15 years, the popularity of Italian wine has exploded in the U.S. And Cantele wines, because of their value and their quality, have played a big part in the “Italian wine renaissance” in America.

Thanks to Cantele’s availability throughout North America, you can find the wines even in smaller, out-of-the-way markets and not just in the big cities. It’s enough to make an Italian winemaker proud!

But despite its popularity, availability, affordability, and high quality, people continue to pronounce the appellation name Salice Salentino incorrectly.

The correct pronunciation is SAH-lee-cheh SAH-lehn-TEE-noh. The accent in Salice is on the FIRST syllable (and not the second as so many people still pronounce it).

A few years ago, our English-language blogger made the above video of Paolo pronouncing the appellation name. There couldn’t be a better way to teach the proper way to say it.

Thanks for speaking Italian appellations with us!

best negroamaro

Salice Salentino one of Odd Bacchus’ TOP REDS 2013!

rob frisch wine blog

We were thrilled to read that Chicago-based wine and travel writer Rob Frisch, author of the popular wine blog Odd Bacchus, had selected the 2009 Salice Salentino Riserva as one of his “top reds in 2013.”

Here’s what Rob Had to say about the wine…

According to The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia, the best wines in Italy’s Salice Salentino DOC are its Negroamaro-based reds, and the Cantele certainly did not disappoint.

This 100% Negroamaro had tight, powdery red-fruit aroma and ample fruit on the palate.

I got a blast of cherries, and others in the group also tasted currants and raisins.

Rich but bright, this full-bodied wine had well-balanced, rustic acids and some serious tannins on the finish.

Image via Odd Bacchus.

Cantele at Fritti, Atlanta’s hippest pizzeria

best pizza atlanta georgia

We still haven’t made it down to Atlanta to check out the city’s hottest pizzeria, Fritti, where restaurateur Riccardo Ullio makes genuine pizza napoletana.

We’ll have to add it to the Rolling Thunder Cantele USA 2014 tour for sure!

In the meantime, if you happen to be down south, you’ll find Cantele Rosato di Negroamaro and Cantele Salice Salentino by the glass at Riccardo’s excellent restaurant.

309 North Highland Ave NE
Atlanta, GA ‎
(404) 880-9559
Google map

best wine list atlanta georgia

Images via the Fritti Facebook.

Top northwest wine writer Paul Gregutt: “pick of the week Salice Salentino a perennial winner”

Earlier this month, the Cantele 2009 Salice Salentino was a “pick of the week” by leading northwest U.S. wine writer and columnist Paul Gregutt.

Here’s what he had to say about the wine:

Cantele Salice Salentino is “perennial winner from Puglia… Cherry fruit leather, soft tannins, a super smooth mouthfeel, and the drink-now accessibility of a four-year-old wine make this a sure-fire choice for any meal… It was also given a prestigious Tre Bicchieri award, usually reserved for much pricier bottles.”

best salice salentino puglia

There are many Mezze Lune but only one in Half Moon Bay

half moon bay restaurants

Above: Many would argue that the view from Half Moon Bay on old Hwy. 1 in Northern California is one of the most beautiful along the west coast of the U.S. (image by Meg Lauber).

Mezza Luna
459 Prospect Way
Half Moon Bay, CA ‎
(650) 728-8108
click for Google map

There are many Italian restaurants in the U.S. called Mezza Luna. It’s probably the most popular name for Italian restaurants in America and there seems to be one in every major U.S. city.

But there’s only one Mezza Luna (“Half Moon”) in Half Moon Bay, California, one of the most beautiful spots on earth.

Chef José Marquez, together with partners Giovanni Marzocca and Roberto Pugliese, have been bringing authentic Italian cuisine to this picturesque town since 1993 when they first opened Mezza Luna.

Scrolling through the restaurant’s Facebook, you discover that the food is almost as beautiful as the view and that Chef José bases his menu on gastronomic authenticity and the unrivaled high quality of ingredients that you find in California.

And clicking through the website, you discover that Chef José, Giovanni, and Roberto serve Cantele 2009 Salice Salentino…

Buon appetito!

Another Texas BBQ pairing but this time Salice Salentino with pork ribs

texas bbq pork ribs

Reading Sandra Crittenden’s post about tasting Cantele wines with Texas bbq on her excellent blog Wine Thoughts got me hankering for some bbq myself.

And so I went and picked up some meat at our favorite local bbq pit here in Austin, Texas: Stiles Switch on North Lamar.

The brisket — the cornerstone of Texas bbq — is always great there. But lately, the pork ribs (above) have been outstanding. These babies literally fall apart when you pick them up and as tender and flaky as they are, they’re never dry. That’s the litmus test of great Texas bbq: the “low and slow” application of heat has to retain the meat’s own juices.

salice salentino

For my wine pairing, I grabbed a bottle of the 2009 Cantele Salice Salentino that I had chilled slightly in the fridge (at our house, we generally chill our red wine in the summertime; not to the point of attenuating their aromas and flavors but making them more refreshing when temperatures rarely dip below the mid-90s here in Central Texas).

There’s a “meaty” quality to Gianni Cantele’s Salice Salentino that I crave when we’re eating salty and slightly spicy meat at our house. It’s a characteristic of Negroamaro in general but winemaker Gianni delivers his such nuanced finesse that it doesn’t overwhelm the flavor profile of the wine (for the record, Gianni’s Salice Salentino is made mostly from Negroamaro from the winery’s best growing sites, with smaller amounts of Malvasia Nera).

The pairing was brilliant, with the red fruit and red berry fruit of the wine flirting and teasing with the saltiness, juiciness, and fattiness of the ribs — as if rubbing pomegranate and dried cherry jam over the crusty “dry rub” of the ribs and massaging their gelatin fat.

But the thing that took it over the top was the zinging acidity and the way that it played — unafraid and unfettered — with the spiciness of the rub.

I kept thinking about what east coast wine professional and Italian expert Morgan Pruitt said when he tasted with Paolo few weeks ago at Tarry Wine in Port Chester, NY: “Nice to see such fresh wines from Puglia.”

The wine was just so fresh and refreshing that it washed down the salt and fat of the dish with the greatest ease. I didn’t even crave a glass of water after the meal like I usually do when I eat something this salty.

Smart, focused, delicious wine… True to the grape variety and indicative of the appellation (in a blind tasting, I’d get this wine every time) but created with food-friendliness and versatility in mind.

Beautiful wine, Gianni! You ought to come visit us sometime in Texas to see what real bbq is all about.

Jeremy Parzen