Sick of winter already? Me too. Let us draw the shades, turn up the thermostat, play Hawaiian music, don shorts and a t-shirt and grab a pair of sunglasses. Our wine glass might as well play pretend. I say send it to the hot iron tip of the heal of the boot of Italy: Puglia, specifically Salice Valentino DOC:
There, baking under an eternal sun, sits Castello Monaci. Lina Memmo owns the fairytale 16th century castle: a hub for weddings with its gardens and crenelations. TripAdvisor loves it (book your stay/wedding/escapism here).
But we came for vineyards. Vitantonio Seracca Guerrieri supervises certified sustainable farming. Baked earth of dry clay, volcanic gravel, and limestone forces Primitivo roots in deep search for the water table. Vity has grapes picked at night. Immediately, Leonardo Sergio presses and ferments grapes entirely under cool temperatures thanks to small stainless steel tanks. It ages a mild 6 months in 75% stainless steel and 25% 2nd and 3rd use French oak. They produce 300,000 bottles of Pilùna Primitivo annually (the name Pilùna nods to clay pots that once dominated ancient winemaking). With no further ado:
Castello Monaci, Pilùna Primitivo, Salice Salento Italy 2012: $10 – $15
APPEARANCE: the Primitivo has a rich purple core with a moderate clear rim of cranberry and tree trunk legs. AROMAS and FLAVORS: smell plump and warm with plum and prune, boysenberry syrup, scrub bush, dried sage, and licorice lingering a medium plus length. The PALATE: feels dry, with mild acidity, ripe tannins, warm alcohol, and a full body.
Castello Monaci’s Pilùna Primitivo is modern but not so squeaky clean that one forgets its origin. It serves up sunshine with ripe fruit and hot earth. It is supple enough to enjoy alone but carries enough structure for grilled meats (even if they have to be grilled indoors), hard cheeses, sausage pizza, even a savory dark chocolate.
It is very good (4 of 5) and a lovely way to warm oneself through winter. So make your own realty. But do not forgot to take Vitamin D supplements.