cantina albea, "sol" primitivo puglia igt 2014 (about $28)


Italian Wine for october, 2017

Alberobello is a picture postcard-pretty town south of Bari in central Puglia, the region that comprises the “heel” of the “boot” that is geographic Italy. Alberobello is a popular tourist destination due primarily to its trulli dwellings which are ancient, picturesque dry stone houses with distinctive, almost iconic, cone-shaped roofs. Although these dwellings date back as far as 700 years many are still in use today as primary residences, vacation homes and, increasingly, as B&B’s. Primarily because of the trulli and the poetically beautiful landscape, Alberobello has been named an UNESCO World Heritage site.

Less well known is the fact that this area of Puglia, generally known as the Trulli district, is a thriving wine region and produces a number of quality red and white wines. Primitivo is the most popular red varietal and finds expression in both 100 percent varietal wines and as the main varietal in some blended wines.

Cantina Albea is an old and celebrated winery and due to its location in a major tourist area is a popular destination for tourists as well as locals. Founded at the turn of the previous century, the winery is built entirely of stone and its fermentation and ageing tanks are carved out of the rock on which the winery is built. The winery also has a popular wine museum on the main floor.

Despite its historic background, it is an entirely modern winery in terms of vineyard management practices and use of up-to-date equipment and technology in its cellaring and ageing operations. It has approximately 130 acres under vine but also purchases grapes from nearby vineyards. It crafts a number of wines from traditional varieties such as Primitivo, Nero di Troia, Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera for the reds and Verdecca and Bianco d’Alessano for the whites.

2014 Albea "Sol" Primitivo Puglia IGTAlbea’s Sol is one of several Primitivo-based wines produced by the estate. The Sol is made entirely of Primitive selected from vineyards in the Goia del Colle area. The grapes are macerated on the skins with regular punch downs for 16 days in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and then aged for 15 months in a combination of Nevers and Troncais barrels which because of the tight grain of the woods are prized for ageing big red wines. The wine is aged for an additional 5 months in the bottle prior to release for sale.

The 2014 Sol has an impenetrable deep ruby red color with a purple rim. It is a big, full-bodied wine with enticing dark fruit and gentle spice aromas interspersed with notes of chocolate. It has a velvety mouthfeel with soft tannins and ripe blackberry, dried fig, plum and vanilla flavors followed by a long, velvety finish. It is a warm, enveloping drinking experience. While full-bodied and flavorful with 15 percent alcohol this Primitivo carries its weight well and is not excessive or overstated.

This complex wine with savory flavors would be a welcome addition to any meal featuring braised or barbequed red meat, beef stew or ratatouille and lively dinner table conversation.

Distributed by Rapp Wine Co., Washington, D.C.

©Richard Marcis
October 7, 2017

To view other wine of the month selections, see Monthly Wine Reviews

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