Under the blazing Pugliese sun, not far from the azure seas and silver sands of the Mediterranean shores, is where you'll find the vineyards of Cantina San Pancrazio.
Unfortunately there is no single winery to visit as the grapes are grown on 14 small farms and sold and marketed through a Cooperative – the Cantina San Pancrazio.
Now normally cooperatives are something I really dislike. Most of them tend to produce rather bland wines for the mass market.
In much of Italy, particularly the north, cooperatives seem to be less and less common - thank goodness!
However in the south of Italy and particularly in Puglia this is not the case. Perhaps this is why southern Italian wine seldom reaches the heights of the north?
It is changing though and some decent wine is finally being produced in the south now – even by cooperatives! Cantina San Pancrazio is one of these.
This is a terroir strongly influence by the sea. Here is a land where the days are hot and dry – baking under the relentless southern Italian sun. Yet at night temperatures drop dramatically.
Rainfall is very limited and the soil is not nutrient rich yet little irrigation is used, ensuring the intense flavor of the grapes is preserved.
The Cantina San Pancrazio is producing excellent wine for two main reasons:
They are firstly using tradition to work the terroir in the way the Pugliese have for centuries.
Secondly they are combining that with a very selective approach. Choosing only the very best grapes and using all the latest technology, while still respecting tradition, to bring out the very best of these grapes.
If you are interested in trying the wines there are a few I really recommend. Firstly the Campo Appio Primitivo I.G.T. Salento which has won numerous awards including that of the best regional wine. Grown on hot, arid slopes of poor quality soil, this is a full bodied dry red wine, ruby red and with a very fruity nose. The perfect wine for a hearty roast beef dinner.
Then there is the Campo Appio Negroamaro I.G.T. Salento, which was chosen by Slow Food as one of the best value wines in Puglia. The wine is produced from 85% Negroamaro and 15% from a mix of Primitivo and Montepulciano.
This is a wine in which you taste the hot sun of Puglia. Almost as if the hot-blooded passion of these people and these lands has been bottled . Open a bottle of this red, full-bodied wine and taste this exceptional corner of Italy.
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