2009 Erbaceo Colli della Murgia IGT Puglia: I was intending to taste the 2011 Beajolais Nouveau, but I got sidetracked when Les poured me a taste of this little charmer. It's a blend of 60% Fiano Minutolo and 40% Greco. The back label says “certified organic by ICEA,” and the producer was either the first or among the first to apply biodynamic growing methods in Puglia. Take a look at their website.
The wine opens with a nose of ripe fruit, dried honey, and juniper berry. “Minutolo” is known for adding floral notes; they did not seem particularly pronounced. On the palate, vivid flavors of golden apple and peach, with a floral/herbal note at the end. Fat-textured, countered by good acidity. Quite fresh-tasting for a two-year-old white. The vineyards are in Gravina in Puglia, just south of the Alta Murgia National Park, about an hour's drive southwest from Bari. If I could find some razor clams, I think I'd like a bottle of this to go with them. Scallops will do.
It is cheering to think that wines of this quality are now available from Puglia. Tom Cannavan called Puglia “the engine room of Italian wine production,” churning out around 10% of Italy's total production. Even today, most of the production goes to bulk sales. When Franco Ventricelli and Francesco Valentino set up shop in 1986, even the natives dismissed the idea of quality wine from the region. There was Cantina Botromagno, and not much else. So they are to be congratulated both for their foresight and perseverance. An appreciation of the external difficulties a Southern Italian producers face can be found here.
Available at Vinsite, (check out their spiffy new site design) priced around $15, I think.