After a hair-raising detour into Basilicata we were back in Puglia to visit Agricole Vallone, home of Graticciaia, the region's best-known red.
Back into Puglia and to the producers of the region's most famous reds
An early start the next day saw us heading back to Puglia. Our first visit was to Vallone, makers of the Brindisi wines that we have listed for a number of years, and which produces Graticciaia, one of Puglia's most famous reds.
Vallone - entrance to Castello Serranova – a beautiful venue for our tasting
The tasting took place at the beautiful Castello Serranova, where we tried a range of wines, including the very attractive 2016 Rosato made from a mix of negroamaro with 20% montepulciano, and reds of various vintages made from local varieties negroamaro and susumaniello.
Oenologist Graziana Grazzini consults at Vallone and my impression of the tasting was that her involvement is paying dividends in the form of authentic, approachable wines which offer some of the best value in the region.
More primitivo in Manduria
After a quick picnic kindly provided by Vallone we set off again, with a whistle-stop visit to Racemi in Manduria, primitivo producers per eccellenza, and suppliers of satisfyingly rich, chocolatey sub-£10 reds to The Society.
We tasted a dozen or so primitivi, mainly from 2016 vintage. It was fascinating to be shown examples of the various soils from which the different cuvées are sourced as we tasted through the range, each imparting a particular character to a particular cuvée.
At Racemi it was fascinating to taste through wines from the different soil profiles
We decided that before the next leg of our journey, a three-and-a-half hour drive down to Calabria (towards the toe of the Italian boot), we would need a fortifying espresso. We parked in a back street of Manduria, a very poor and rundown town, and were greeted with some graffiti - nothing political or profane, but the most heart-warming mural daub that I've ever come across.
In the local bar the front page of the Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno newspaper provided an entertaining diversion...
"Every time I look at you I fall in love again - I love you"
Sebastian Payne MW digesting the news
Power of the printed and daubed word!
Where to go next?
Calabria: highlight of our southern odyssey >
Return to trip overview >