Valentina Passalaqua Castel del Monte Primitivo 2018$27.00
Region: Apricena < Puglia < Italy
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified biodynamic farming; rocky, limestone, marble soils with calcified seashells; 4-day maceration in stainless on the skins with no temperature control, and bottled unfined/unfiltered under crown cap with <30ppm added SO2; 10.5% ABV
Winemaker: Valentina Passalacqua
Valentina Passalacqua is a trailblazing young natural winemaker in Puglia, a region not exactly known for biodynamic, no sulfur wines. She took over her family’s land (used only for cattle grazing since 1900), located inside Gargano National Park, to create a diverse farm that includes indigenous grape varietals. Her family considered the land too difficult, too poor, for crops, not realizing that they were actually sitting on a precious marble mine – or soil that happens to be amazing for vines. The rocky, mineral-rich soil does not retain water (also great for vines), and proximity to the sea means cooling breezes and ventilation (another plus). Valentina’s wines are pure, elegant, never soupy as you sometimes see in wines from Puglia (it’s hot there). Because, she is careful about canopy management (to ensure grapes don’t get cooked) and picks early to retain freshness and acidity.
Primitivo, the Italian cousin to Zinfandel, often becomes heavy, flabby and high-ABV in the hot Puglian sun. But thanks to her early picks and conscious efforts to maintain acidity, this wine is light and refreshing, retaining all of the ripe berry flavors of Primitivo in a tight, bright, 10.5% ABV package. We love the crunchy red fruit, peppery spice and joyful juiciness of this wine, which shines even brighter with a slight chill.