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Cantele Italian Wines
Cantele Italian Wines
Chianti is the classic Italian red that many go to on a daily basis, securing Sangiovese’s spot at the table next to its popular partners, pizza and pasta. But if Chianti is the only red you’re drinking from Italy, you’re missing out on some of the most unique wines from the country’s lesser known, often overlooked regions. Cantele is credited with the re-discovery of both Primitivo and Negroamaro, having been in the Puglia region since the 1950s, well before anyone else. Rich in history, originally cultivated in Croatia, the Primitivo grape is genetically identical to one of California’s heartiest reds, Zinfandel. Puglia, the heel of the Italian peninsula's boot, is the home of Primitivo, and Cantele is THE producer to know in this region. While Cantele’s Californian counterparts tend to make Zinfandel in a big, concentrated, over-the-top style with high alcohol content, Umberto Cantele makes his Primitivo in a lighter style, with a more reserved alcohol content and less jammy fruit and more natural fruit flavors. Venture even further south to the Salento penninsula and you’ll find the home of another indigenous Italian grape, Negroamaro. This is one of the world’s most historic grapes, having been planted in Puglia at least since the sixth century B.C, and exclusively thrives in Salice Salentino (SAH lee chae sah len TEE no), a small village near the Salento peninsula. Negroamaro wines have more structure and tannin than Primitivo, and are almost always blended with Malvasia Nera for balance. Cantele is world famous for their Salice Salentino, which pairs fabulously with more robust dishes such as meat pasta sauces or even roasted meats.
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