Let us start an open discussion of a wine we have become a big fan of. The wine is Castello Monaci "Liante" Salice Salentino DOC 2007. We invite everyone to post their experiences with this wine. Please feel free to provide your own critique by placing a message in the comments area of the blog, this will help others select the perfect wine for their occasion. We will preview your comments and moderate them, once we do that we will approve a comment and it will show on the website.
Producer Background: Located near the bucolic town of Salice Salentino in Puglia, the “heel” of “Italy’s boot” which is an idyllic spot situated between the Adriatic and Tirrenean seas, is the new property of Castello Monaci. The eponymous castle is nestled amid groves of centuries old olive trees, and a long road slices straight through the estate’s 150 hectares of vineyards, forming what Monaci terms a meridian, an imaginary line which is the highest point in the sky reached by the sun.
With such a bounty of sunlight flooding the land, Castello Monaci is disegnati dal sole ('crafted by the sun').
- Wine Type: Dry Red
- Grape Type: 80% Negroamaro, 20% Malvasia Nera di Lecce.
- Country: Italy
- Region: Puglia
Liante (“Wind of the Levant”) is the icy wind of winter and the hot one of summer, which gusts fiercely through most of the Adriatic, particularly Puglia. The liante is a symbol for a land that breathes.
Vineyard trellising at Monaci is a combination of Alberello Pugliese and spurred cordon systems on deep and dry, limestone, clay and siliceous soils. Resembling a small tree, the Alberello is optimal for achieving vine maturity while shielding the grapes from excessive sun. The spurred cordon insures small yields to maximize concentration and flavor of the grapes. The average yield is a low 4.4 tons per hectare, around the 2 tons per acre that is typically farmed to produce high quality wines.
The grapes are hand harvested at dawn and fermented separately because they ripen at various intervals. In early September, Negroamaro ripens first, while the Malvasia Nera takes another two weeks. There’s a controlled-temperature fermentation in stainless steel tank, with 10-12 days maceration and daily pumping over. After the malolactic fermentation, the wine is blended and approximately half is aged in French barriques and the rest is aged in steel.
Tasting Notes: With intense, complex aromas of wild cherry conserve, dried plums, chocolate and vanilla, the wine shows powerful, ripe dark fruit and spices on the palate, with a pleasant finish. The wine is a great match with spicy foods like Fra Diavolo sauce.
Food Match: roasts, red meat, pasta in meat sauce, Hard cheeses, grilled meats, beef.