Wine Blog

Radici del Sud – The Event for Autochtonous Grape Lovers

Puglia is THE place to be every year in early June!

Well, not only in June but all year round. LOL

Why you might wonder?

Because it is the time of year when Radici del sud takes place.

This year I am back at Radici del Sud and even appearing a bit behind the scenes. It feels different though still the same, or even better. I get to share my impressions of Puglia and my wine friends in Puglia with my international wine friends. The best of all worlds, so to say.

For those of you who know me, you know I use the word ‘cool’ in every second sentence. LOL But as it has already been taken in an article yesterday stating that the ‘autochtonous grape is cool‘ I will go with ‘awesome’ or ‘trendy’ here.

Moi with Nicola Campanile and Alessandro Bonsegna

I think the awesome thing is that Radici del Sud every year is trying to give certain inputs and instruments to the international wine people invited to help them understand the southern Italian territories. I have already written about how the key to getting a better grip of wine and food in southern Italy is to learn how to interpret the local territory. (See more in #TerroirPuglia – Learning How to Read a Local Territory.)

A jump into the biodynamic world of Morella winery

Tonight, we got lots of inputs to better be able to read the wine map of Puglia. We have just enjoyed an amazing vertical and horizontal tasting with Primitivo wines of the biodynamic winery Morella in Manduria. I had only tasted a wine of theirs once, so it was very interesting to learn more about them today.

Morella wines

Lisa Gilbee and her husband Gaetano Morella introduced us to their vine growing and winemaking visions by telling us how they focus on the work in the vineyard and then intervene as little as possible in the wine cellar.
In fact, Lisa said

When I’m showing you the wines, I am showing you the vineyard.

We tasted the vintage 2015 of their Old vines, La Signora, and Mondo Nuovo wines that all three of them are the names of three different vineyards. Old vines and La signora are vineyards that are located next to each other and the soil there is red on limestone.

Old vines is just as you might have understood by the name, the oldest vineyard with its 80 years on the neck. La Signora is also old, around 70 years, but Morella winery only bought it more recently. Mondo Nuovo is the newest addition.

I will tell you more about their wines in a coming article. However, to just give you a hint their Primitivo wines are fruity, of course, but it is a smooth and round red fruit ranging from main notes of plums in Old vines and more cherry notes in La Signora, for example. The fruit never gets overly ripe or too sweet, the tannins are elegant, the alcohol is not perceived really even if they have a fairly high alcohol level. All in all, these are structured, complex, and powerful Primitivo wines.

The vertical part of the tasting was the 2011 and 2005 vintages of Old vines that really impressed me a lot also.

2 days of blind tasting spree at Radici del sud

This vertical and horizontal tasting was the icing on the cake after 2 days of blind tasting sessions for the wine competition that is a part of the Radici del sud event. The wine competition is a way for international journalists and buyers to get a deeper insight into the native grapes of southern Italy.

In ‘my’ jury group, we had a lot of fun with the jury president Francesco Muci and the oenologist Fabio Mecca who guided us through the wines made with native grapes that we were tasting. They are two very knowledgeable persons and could better explain different winemaking traditions and trends to us.


Every now and then, I got lost in the number of wines we tasted while discussing them with my tasting neighbor Kate Maciejewska Serra but Francesco Muci always saved us and got us back on track. LOL

We are now almost at half time of Radici del Sud and tomorrow the agenda changes by sending some of us on a 3-day press tour to Campania and Basilicata. Follow us in the coming days to learn more…

Before that I just wanted to say something about the vertical rosé wine tasting that opened Radici del sud 2019 earlier this week…

Puglia and rosé wines go hand in hand.

Salento is indeed the place where rosé wines are a part of the tradition. It is also the place where the first rosé wine was bottled back in 1943.

What better way to kick off Radici del Sud 2019 than with a vertical tasting of rosé wines from the Bonsegna winery in Nardò close to Lecce?

The other night, on June 4th, at Restaurant Le Giare in Bari Radici del Sud 2019 opened its doors with a vertical rosé tasting. Alessandro Bonsegna himself and his daughter Luisa were present to tell us more about their vine growing and winemaking. The rosé tasting was presented and guided by Francesco Muci who is responsible for Slowfood in Puglia.

What rosé wines were we tasting then?

The focus of the evening was on Danze della Contessa Rosato Nardò Doc 2017, 2015, 2012, 2010, 2009, and 2008. We also tasted the Danze della Contessa Rosato Nardò Doc 2018 that is available on the market now. The grapes are here 90% Negroamaro and 10% Malvasia Nera.


Why a tasting with aged rosé wines?

Well, the aim, as Francesco Muci explained, was to show how rosé wines can evolve beautifully over the years and how rosé wines can move up in the categories and be considered more on a level with aged white and red wines.

The remarkable thing was the level of freshness in all the vintages, even the older ones. It is easy for a rosé wine to get oxidized and there is really no way to prevent it other than, as Alessandro Bonsegna explained to me, doing good work in the vineyard and making sure that the grapes are of top quality.

These rosé wines are overall wines with good acidity, fruit-forward notes as well as notes of aromatic herbs from the Mediterranean flora, tannins that contribute to the character of the wine, and a great body. I liked all of them though, especially, 2008 because it still had a lovely acidity, a fantastic body, and a complex nose.

In a coming article, I will tell you more about this winery and their rosé wines.

What are you waiting for…?

…are you joining us on Monday? Monday is the day of the exhibition event where you can meet and taste the wines of the producers that are participating in this year’s Radici del Sud event.

Katarina Andersson

Seen often at wine events streaming live, Katarina is a wine writer, wine educator, social media strategist, and translator. She is the founder of WinesOfItaly LiveStream. She has been a guest at The Cellar, hosted by Richard Glover, at Wine Two Five, a podcast hosted by Stephanie Davis and Valerie Caruso, and at the Twitter chat #WiningHourChat founded by Li Valentine.

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