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Dark cherry and almond on the nose, this great buy from Italy's warm south is made from carefully tended and naturally sweet negroamaro (80%) and malvasia nera bush vines on Vallone's Flaminio estate in Puglia.
Product Code: IT29601
View all products by Agricole Vallone
Basking in the balmy, Adriatic-cooled microlimate of the Salento peninsula in Puglia, on Italy’s heel, Agricole Vallone is a large, multi-tasking agricultural concern, with 170 hectares of vines interspersed with other crops, mostly olive trees, artichokes and vegetables. It was founded in 1934, but like others at the time, sold grapes to the local co-operative. It was only in the late 1990s that it began bottling its own wines, but it quickly made its name with its flagship wine, Graticciaia, a partially barrel-aged red made largely from negromaro grapes dried on mats (graticci) in the Autumn sunshine. Designated IGT Salento, this is a very special wine with powerful, concentrated flavours that ages beautifully. For more informal drinking, DOC Brindisi Rosso and its rosato equivalent from the Flaminio estate are hugely popular with members.
In ancient times this was the main source of high-quality wines from the peninsula of Italy The Greeks had introduced viniculture through their colonies there and named the bottom half of the peninsula ‘Oenotrai’ or land of wine, and the Romans expanded on the tradition, particularly in the Campania where many wealthy citizens owned vast estates and some of the most famous wines of the empire were made, such as Falernum. Some grape names appear to reflect the Greco-Roman influence (greco, aglianico), though this may be more about folk-memory than fact as there is no ampelographical evidence linking these varieties to any Greek ancient forbears. Campania itself is the area around Naples and Mount Vesuvius. Naturally there are volcanic soils in the vicinity and as the vineyards climb the Apennines there is altitude to cool the grapes as they ripen. As such there is a balancing freshness to the fruity wines. Greco di Tufo, fiano (especially from Avellino) and falanghina are among the best white wines, characterful and perfumed. Of the red varieties it is aglianico that makes the most impressive examples on the volcanic soils of Taurasi, though there is potential promised and realized in other varieties like piedirosso. There are excellent aglianico wines from Basilicata, the once impoverished region on the instep of the Italian boot. Inland on the border with Puglia, round the extinct volcano of Monte Vulture, the aglianico grape performs admirably to produce powerful ageworthy red wines that retain a thread of finesse. Calabria is the toe of the boot, and another region of limited economic development in recent decades. From one end of the province to the other mountains form a spine and, unlike in Campania, the vineyards producing the best wines are on the flat. In particular the DOC of Cirò on the Gulf of Taranto in the east of the province produces perfumed red wines from the indigenous gaglioppo grape.Across the Apennines on the Adriatic coast lies Puglia, a region that has begun to overcome a longstanding reputation for producing wines for bulk export but is now producing a range of fascinating good-value red wines from varieties like negroamaro, primitivo (aka zinfandel in California) and uva di troia. In the right hands all of them are capable of making very fine wines with plenty of ripe fruit, concentration and structure but without the overpowering alcohols that a hot climate and indifferent winemaking once routinely produced. They are also often excellent value. Puglia is largely flat, almost table-like lacking the softening effects of altitude must rely on the air conditioning of the sea and the skill of the winemaker to make balanced wines. Vines are consistently bush trained to retain shade and moisture. The best wines come from the Salento peninsula where the sea is on three sides and the best producers reside. Full-bodied negroamaro from Brindisi and Copertino and primitivo from soils underpinned by limestone in Manduria can be excellent Whites tend to be greco, fiano and minutolo, and there are some well-flavoured rosé wines as a speciality of the region. Whites too are now catching up in quality.Sicily has shown itself to be one of the most forward thinking Italian regions in recent years, with an awakening pride in the quality that can be achieved on this hot, socially complex and culturally saturated island. Sicily was once famous for the fortified Marsala wines that Nelson bought to victual his Mediterranean fleet, but as this fame and the sales that went with it dwindled many producers recognised that there was a need to produce table wines of greater quality. Bulk wine still leaves the island in tankers but there has been something of a revolution in viticulture and viniculture and Sicily now produces some of Italy’s best and most interesting wines. Nero d’Avola has been a conspicuous success, and makes everything from fruity entry-level reds to powerful, ripe and structured reds that can age and is often a major component in high-quality blends with syrah, cabernet and merlot. Mount Etna is a source of fine reds and whites of depth, finesse and zest, grown on the slopes of the famous volcano. Altitude and volcanic soils provide excellent conditions for the local nerello mascalese, nerello cappuccio and carricante (a white grape) vines. The white former mainstays of Marsala production cataratto and grillo are being given their head by winemakers who want them to shine alone and shine they do. Finally there has been a renaissance of interest in the intense, sweet muscat wines of the island of Pantelleria, an island closer to Tunisia than Sicily.Sardinia, until 1708 a Spanish possession, grows several vines that reflect an Iberian heritage. Graciano and mazuelo grow here as bovale sardo and boval grande respectively. Cannonau is grenache/garnacha by another less Spanish name. The grape that the island has exported to other parts is vermentino from which its finest, aromatic and flavoursome whites are made. Mazuelo, better known as carignan, makes the islands best reds called carignano del Sulcis.
"Bought as part of a mixed case. 4 wine tasters gave it an average 6.25/10.
May buy again."
"Yummy with a capital Y"
"One of the most disappointing wines ever bought from the Society - thin, acidic and tasteless. Avoid!"
"Yummy with a capital Y"
"Bought as part of a mixed case. 4 wine tasters gave it an average 6.25/10.
May buy again."
There are no press reviews for this product.
"Didn't find anything special about this and have had better. "
Mr Eifion Pipe (27-Jun-2020)
"This wine is ok but that's as far as it goes for me, not sure why it's so highly rated. Price not too bad but a little thin, slightly sharp and little character."
Mr Dennis Byrom (24-Dec-2019)
"Really not bad at all. Almost a 5 star. Really good depth and lots of fruit. "
Mr Paul Anderson (22-Dec-2019)
"As a reviewer noted for a previous vintage, this is a Copertino in all but name. Good to drink with food or on its own. Slight tannin, well balanced fruit, has a bit of character. Highly recommended - a decent table wine likely to appeal to a wide range of guests would be my summary.
4 and a half stars."
Mr Steven Naylor (04-Oct-2019)
"Wasn't blown away but a pretty good wine at a decent price point."
Mr Phillip Henry (25-Feb-2019)
"A lovely soft red.Good value"
Mr Richard Dawson (25-Dec-2018)
"Really tasty and packed with fruit. I love the Negroamaro grape and would love it if TWS sold a Copertino; but this is a Copertino in all but name. Typically Puglian that handles food with the usual mediterranean tomato/lemon acidity. At £8, this is an excellent buy."
Mr Richard Hadfield (09-Nov-2018)
"This is very good, probably 4 and a half stars. A bit of depth, fruity with a touch of tannin. Definitely a winner with any kind of pasta dish. Would happily repurchase "
Mr Steven Naylor (19-Aug-2018)
rosemurraybrown.com (14th Jul 2018)
"Star value: Superb
buy which scored highly for its sweet baked raisiny flavours, gentle oak notes,
soft smooth tannins and approachability, ideal for serving with spicy spare
ribs. Made from 100% negroamaro by Vallone, one of the Salentino’s top
producers who originally sold their grapes off to the local co-operative, but
since 1997 have bottled their own. - Rose Murray Brown"
"Good, but not great. The 2014 is on the lighter side. Not especially memorable, but smooth, and pleasant drunk cool, with a dry flavour that doesn't linger. Makes me think of a walk on a woody hillside, in autumn; tree bark and moss, with wood smoke in the air, and only a hint of red fruit."
Mr Patrick Vickers (27-Jan-2018)
"I have had several bottles, most recently the 2013. I have always thought it rather "delicate" than "full-bodied". In my opinion it is quite light, very refined and a delicious bargain!"
Mr Peter Sargent (30-Oct-2017)
Mr Martin Tolhurst (11-Aug-2016)
"Previous vintages of this wine have been rich, savoury and good value but the 2013 is thin and unattractive by comparison. Ordered a case but decided to return it after a few bottles..."
Mr Nigel Ludlow (02-Jun-2016)
"Absolutely wonderful. Gorgeous fruit and superb balance which gives a superb richness and almost unending finish! This may seem to be a contradiction in terms but I don't have a better description."
Mr Peter Wooldridge (12-Oct-2015)
"Nice nose,bit tight at first needs half an hour to open out.Fruity and long with some slight sweet notes. Goes well with food especially cheese 8.9/10"
Mr Andrew Swann (06-Sep-2015)
"Got this as part of my recent mixed reds case. Dark damsony notes. Very good. What! ...only six pound 95???"
Mr Frederick Matthews (01-Aug-2015)
"Excellent, best bottle I've had for some time: punches well above its price point & a definite re-order - in fact I'm tempted to also get in a bottle or two of the makers other wines. Obvious match with lasagne or anything with meat & herbs. TWS description & food suggestions pretty much spot on."
Mr Tim Potts (05-Dec-2014)
"This is one of those reliable wines that one keeps coming back to. Consistently enjoyable and remarkable value, I thank Victoria Moore (who said I should join The Wine Society in the first place!)."
Mr Ian Oddie (26-Aug-2014)
"Super; I very often find Italian wine is best with food but this gem was great at any time. Even the following day when a small amount had been left in the bottle (can't imagine why) the flavour was excellent. It is also a markedly smooth glassful."
Mr Chris Walters (29-May-2014)
"Well, didn't the Dr get excited! (previous review). I agree, a young Italian wine at its best. Perfumed, seductive. Drink now."
Mr James Kilmister (17-Feb-2014)
"This was absolutely superb! Indeed, I would say it's the best Italian red I've yet tasted (for my moderate means, that is!). The wine has a beautiful sweetness with full flavour; and I'd say is an outstanding bargain at the price. It's so good, I'm ordering more up this weekend! Thank you!"
Dr Ian C MacDougall (09-Jan-2014)
"Purchased by my father in Montreuil a few weeks ago. Cork dried out, crumbled on opening. As a result, wine oxidised - baked fruit aromas, back note of molasses, no freshness. Disappointing, lets hope the other bottle is in better condition.
Mr Matthew Ainscough (03-Dec-2013)
"This is a pleasant light coloured, medium bodied wine. Cherries on the nose, respectable depth and length of flavour. Nothing wrong with it, and decent value no doubt for the price. However it is *NOT* in any way full-bodied, as the descriptive text says it is. I do wish I had noticed the conflict with the style description, and not relied on the blurb.."
Jeremy Whitmarsh Esq (15-Mar-2013)
"Excellent. Lovely, earthy flavour typical of Puglia. Will (need to) buy some more."
Mr David Emes (25-Dec-2012)
The Daily Telegraph (Apr 2013)
"I am always hunting for wines at around this price that are unboring enough to order by the case and use as a kitchen red. Well, here's one. From Italy's heel, and full of the exuberance of the warm south, reminiscent of mulberries, with an edge of sour cherries. Made from negroamaro, it's smooth and easy-going with a sweet ripeness that, if you are having a pizza, is extra delicious if you fry some red onions and add them to the topping with some chilli and fatty salami.- Victoria Moore"
"Tastes best if decanted an hour or so before drinking. This is good everyday drinking wine that is better value than many other of the more well known wines from Italy."
Mr Mark Jones (17-Jun-2012)
"Awesome vfm, super savoury, you can almost taste Lake Garda."
Mr Scott Gill (27-Apr-2012)
"Great with all sorts of pasta."
Mr Martin Wingate (18-Jul-2011)
"Rather good. At first I thought it tasted rather mature for a wine just over 3 years old but it seemed to firm up positively in the decanter over a couple of hours. Meaty nose with a bit of cherry, smoke and herb. Good mellow dark fruits with an excellent savoury quality. Big flavour, mellow but good intensity. Great value."
Prof Kevin Hetherington (10-Apr-2011)
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