Albea, Cardone, i Pàstini: a wine tour to discover, through your senses, the identity of a territory
Vintage. Must flavour. Women bent forward old vineyards picking up their fruits. A blinding sun. A welcoming smile. The Itria Valley is all this in Autumn, may the most beautiful period of the year to discover it. A nature humanized by the work of the man, by the perfect geometry, with rows of vines ordered in parallel lines that holes the horizon, well hidden inside the chiaroscuro of the dried stone walls.
A hymn to beauty.
It has to be heard, contemplated, deeply known, with no romanticized website, but just the discovering personally of the faces and the history of those who have this landscape craved on with lots of sacrifices. ‘Cause not all people know how much work and nature hide behind a vineyard and, above all, because to understand the essence of this land, you have to necessarily know its people. And that is just what we have done, and not without promising any surprises: three tours of a journey that from Alberobello has lead us to Martina Franca, among cellars and wine shops- vineyards and wine experts.
And in few kms, glass after glass, all our prejudices’ fell down. The wine world is more and more being entrusted to young entrepreneurs who use up to date communication means, that open themselves to new chances – as tourism – that are not afraid to change even keeping up tradition, often family ones. And so today, thaks to them too, it is possible to discover another characteristic of the Itria Valley, by the story of one of its most iconic elements: wine. Well organized wine tours, offered both in Italian and English, during which the best welcoming and liable references to make wine-tourist live such an unforgettable experience.
Albea Cellar Museum
Cellar Museum. It is here we have the pleasure to meet Claudio Sisto, wine expert and engineering Director of the Company that, since the 2000th’s, has passed under Chevalier Dante Renzini’s protective wing. Our tour starts from Alberobello, Trulli’s Capital and Humanity Heritage, in a very special place: The Albea Cellar Museum. At Albea, everything talks about history and identity. The structure going back the early ‘9ooth’s, whole stone made, save, still intact, the ancient completely filled in earth cisterns intended to be filled with wine. The Museum tells, through archaeological findings and images, the history of this territory, wine producers’ faces giant posters, wind and sun lined by. Claudio’s words ravish us, as they are so sincere and direct as the wine produced by him. In a period in which the oenological world is more and more left to the mercy of manners and guides, it is vital to come back to the earth, investing money in local wine producers. No fatuous slogan, but real Company’s strategies that are providing important spin-offs on the whole area. Albea, as a matter of fact, does not buy vineyards but it tries to make the wine-producers aware of their own responsibilities giving them economical incentives that, actually, means “the more you increase the quality of your production the more I will reward you”. Then after a deeply known and thorough requalification, now the Albea’s group gives references from whole Apulia, from the Nero of Troia up to the Negramaro. A tale of our land that you could taste directly at Alberobello’s Cooperative wine growers’ Association, also visiting its Museum. The highest floor, actually, houses Alberobello’s wine Museum that saves, inside its walls, old farm tools – some of which used before Christ birth and still used up to few decades ago – and a rich photographic section, that tells the different wine-making techniques used in the past up to those, surely nowadays more purified and sophisticated.
THE WINE TO BE DISCOVERED: LUI – Nero di Troia (Deep Red From Troia)
WINE TOUR: Guided visits with wine tasting against booking at +39.0804323548. Open all year round, from Mondays to Saturdays.
ALBEA CELLAR MUSEUM: Via Due Macelli, 8 – Alberobello (BA)
From Cardone’s Wines you can enjoy a Locorotondo incomparable view. This is Marianna Cardone’s second house, an enchanting venue, set on the slopes of the little town, recently inaugurated a few years ago and become one of the stops of the Cellar’s wine tour. The white of the trulli and of the sloping roofs, at midday, is really dazzling. Under an arcade, where usually the visitors – mainly foreigners – have a rest for brunch, tasting Cardone’s references, we stop for a chat. And so Marianna, Company’s commercial and communications responsible, with her eyes wept, as the story of the Cellar is, after all, her family’s story: “I’m lucky to belong to a wine producers’s family. This means that I was born in a cellar and I closely know the wonderful work made in our vineyards by our incomparable farmers. Behind a bottle of wine there is often the story of a family, with their passions and their feelings, almost never stimulated just by good money earning, but often, by a sacrifice sprit and a sense of pride in producing one of the emblem of Italian agriculture”.
We ask Marianna, elected no more than one year ago president of the Association Le Donne del Vino (the women of the wine) – Apulian Delegation – what kind of help can a woman give to the oenological world. “Women are able to work in team, to place themselves humbly to opposite new knowledge and accept the challenge to have to find themselves working into a male typical world such as the oenological one. All this thanks to their own sensibility that helps them and likes them best, both in the ability of wine tasting and in catching the new opportunities. I happily belong to the wonderful National Association the Women of the wine’s family, made up today of more than 800 female farmers among oenologists and sommeliers and I guarantee that, from the North to the South, the stories and the experiences are almost the same and the sharing of the goals makes them almost since many years chose very efficiently and crucial marketing and cultural events.”
THE WINE TO BE DISCOVERED: Prosit (Cheers!) – Valle d’Itria IGP (PGI) White sparkling wine
WINE TOUR: Guided visits with wine tasting against booking at:+39.0804311624 tour lasting from 1 to 3 hours with the possibility to book the brunch
The last stop of our Wine Tour: i Pàstini. The car stops at what we could define Itria Valley’s heart: on the right Locorotondo’s skyline, on the left Martina Franca’s one. A breathtaking landscape suddenly reveals itself to our eyes, evident example of how nature and human beings can easily coexist, as long as there are respect and passion. A new cellar recently set, a XIX century old farm, the Ferrovie Sud Est (South East) railway tracks that form the watershed between old and new times and huge vineyards where lose ourselves. In this Cellar, we notice, once more, how many are the stories to be told. In this case, Carparelli family’s destiny mingles the one of an autochthonous species of vine, the Minutolo, for decades completely forgotten because unknown, little fruitful and so little profitable. Its rediscovery and probably its salvation is due to the oenologist Pasquale Carparelli who first decided to work on Minutolo implantation: foolishness or enlightening insight? The deeds will prove that: so Rampone springs up, e.d. a Fiano Minutolo unique of Itria Valley, with floral scents, yellow grapes and plump taste, by now, all over the world appreciated. The best way to taste it? Directly at the Cellar, listening to the story we have already talked about, together with plenty of anecdotes, straight from the alive voice of the main protagonists.
THE WINE TO BE DISCOVERED: Rampone – Fiano Minutolo
WINE TOUR: Guided visits with wine tasting against booking at: +39.0804313309. Tour lasting: 1 ,30’ – Timetable: h.11.00 and h.15.00
I PASTINI: Strada Cupa Rampone Zona A – Martina Franca (TA)