Giving Salice Salentino a Chance

Salice Salentino Gets No Respect
Do a little research on Salice Salentino, and the nicest comment you’ll hear is: “At least it’s inexpensive”. Dig a little deeper, and you might hear “ripe and bitter.” Wow, faint praise indeed. As our #ItalianFWT group was exploring Puglia, I approached the bottle of Salice Salentino I bought with a bit of trepidation, would it be everything I had heard?

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My worries were unfounded, the wine was very nice. Ripe? Yes, but not raisiny or pruny. Bitter? Yes, but think “dark chocolate” when you think bitter, and you might have a more positive reaction. Besides, a bit of bitter flavor is so typically Italian, it tells you a little about where the wine is from. We served the wine with an easy meal of grilled steak and green beans with a roasted potato/artichoke medley in a southern Italian style.

Maiana Salice Salentino

Wrong reputation? This was a nice bottle of wine.

Leone de Castris Salice Salentino Maiana DOC 2011 ($13 at Solo Vino)
The Leone de Castris winery has been in business since 1665! They have multiple estates and grow a wide variety of grapes. The DOC regulation for Salice Salentino requires a high percentage of Negroamaro grapes. This wine is 90% Negroamaro with the remaining 10% Malvasia Nera. The vines are head trained, which means the individual vine looks more like a bush, no training wires. This is a useful training method in warm and sunny locations, like Puglia. The wine is fermented over at least 10 days at a low temperature of 20-22° C, followed by at least 6 months in barrel.

Eye: Clear, medium ruby color with a garnet edge
Nose: A little hot, blueberries, blackberries, medium+ intensity, mushrooms, a bit of evergreen needles.
Mouth: Luscious ripe fruit in the mouth, not raisiny or pruny at all. Good cleansing tannins, not overpowering. A bit of iron, with a pleasant touch of bitterness.

We liked this wine a lot. It was ripe without going overboard, and that touch of bitter gave it Italian flair. Great with a rare steak, veggies, and artichoke potatoes. Don’t think “inexpensive”, think “great deal!”

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Comments
5 Responses to “Giving Salice Salentino a Chance”
  1. You cannot go wrong with a bottle of Maiana, but wait until you wrap your lips around its rosato sister. FAB! Salute, Jeff!

  2. I’m a fan of Salice Salentino, and the Negroamaro grape. I know it was positively wonderful with a grilled steak!

  3. Jill Barth says:

    It’s always better to taste for oneself. I honestly think some people are afraid to speak up for their own tastes for fear of looking “amateur” so any certain wine gets a tide of similar commentary. Looks fantastic, a delicious pairing as always.

    PS Palladian Traveler, I do need some rosato in my life this spring….

  4. Vino Travels says:

    Glad to see you’re enjoying the fruits of Puglia still.

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