Inauguration of Masseria Altemura, Puglia, Italy- October 2012 – A Foot On Ground Report – James Melendez

I have always been a student of geography–endlessly fascinated as to what other places look like that I have never visited.  Viewing of maps of regions, territories and countries explains relationships, connections and even dependencies (with respect to dependencies I mean to climate, weather, and geology).  I became an even better student of geography and geology by becoming a lover of wine.  Wine helps to explain, codify and give in absolute detail geography and geology.

Italy has been a place where my fascination never ceases–it just wonders and continues.  After all there is not just one Italy but many Italy’s.  Italy’s interesting shape of a boot makes one wonder what do the extreme northerly or southerly borders and frontiers look like?  What must the boot heel look like? (I mean from an on the ground perspective).  Also Puglia is surrounded by water– the Adriatic and the Ionian seas–these life giving elements help to characterize both the human experience as well as the natural and viniculture and viticulture experience.

A picture can only tell you so much and hence a visit gives subtleties and contrasts.  I visited Puglia this past October (2012) and delighted in each footstep I made–after all Puglia became more and more vibrant after I had been tasting through Primitivo, Negroamaro and Aglianico for number of years before visiting in person.  The connection with geography and geology was enthralling because of my love for wines from Puglia.  Before stepping on the sacred ground in Puglia I was able to taste the splendor glass-by-glass.   Primitivo, Negroamaro and Aglianico are some of the leading grapes in the south of Italy and Puglia.  Food friendliness of wine seems to be a cliché but I would add not necessarily cliché but an important attribute to recall and for enjoyment of wine.  Primitivo is extremely friendly and distinct from this region and has had a home for some time–for those lovers of Zinfandel–Primitivo is a must–after all there is a grounded familiarity as they are the same grape.  I recommend Negroamaro as a very distinct wine grape–Negro comes from the Italian word for Black and Amaro from the ancient Greek word “maru” meaning bitter–hence a dark bitter grape–but I would say substitute the word bitter for dry and notes of black fruit and earthen notes.

As a veteran of wine tasting and visiting many a wine facility–I marveled at the sterling facility of Masseria Altemura–elegant, in touch with the landscape, respectful and yet exciting.  I witnessed the inauguration of this pristine winery and vineyard.  I walked all aspect at the Masseria Altemura–and I took to the vineyard–and marveled at the vines that I was seeing.  The vines were meticulous and harvest had taken place already–but care of vines of hectare over hectare expresses commitment and a love for the vine.   The limestone soil was moist from a recent rain–my Prada shoes got a bit of mud but I didn’t mind.  I wanted to be on the same soil that makes Primitivo, Aglianico, Negroamaro, Fiano, and Sussumaniello.  The current vineyard is 82 hectares (202 acres) and in perfect harmony were olive trees neatly aligned as well.   I marveled a moment and then went back to the activities and speeches (in Italian and yes I understood all that was spoken–though speaking in Italian is more of a challenge for me).  I did not need to speak Italian to taste the fruit of this vineyard—well paired with regional foods paired at the luncheon.  I tasted the Rosamaro which was the first time I ever tasted a sparkling wine from Negroamaro–completely distinct and well produced.  I did taste the Primitivo de Manduria, Aglianico and Negroamaro.  Each wine gave a great homage not just to the inauguration of this winery but a great snapshot and expression of what is distinct and honorable about wines from Puglia.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I look forward and eagerly so for a repeat visit to Puglia and for more ‘Foot-on-ground’ tours.  I also loved seeing the many cactus that were quite abundant–I grew up with landscapes where cactus is common–I didn’t expect to see them in Puglia–a most important way of understanding place and experiencing familiarity.   I was delighted and honored to be at this special occasion and inauguration of Masseria Altemura–and when you are in Puglia– I recommend a visit.


James the Wine Guy

James the Wine Guy

Read more of my wine reviews: © 2012 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy — All Rights Reserved. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter and most major social medias.

James the Wine Guy on Twitter:

See James the Wine Guy channel for videos on YouTube:

Follow, subscribe, like, browse:             


About James Melendez

I love wine and have had the privilege of working in the wine trade as a senior national wine marketing manager for a wine, food and home goods retailer in 30+ US States. I executed into making wine experiential and made 'wines of the world' programme work in a highly regulated framework for a successful business proposition. My "wine" site also incorporates those categories intimately involved with wine such as food, travel and lifestyle. This site incorporates my many dimensions of interest. I love to review and also talk about many aspects of wine. I have been privileged to visit many wine countries and find them enthralling no matter how many times I visit. I love all aspects of wine: viticulture, history, winemaking, brand development, wine regions and many more aspects. This is a living tradition that needs documentation, education, reporting and reviewing. Do I have favourite varieties and styles? I love so many varieties and often it is situational and yet there are time honoured wines that I anticipate and I am passionate about. I like all colours of wine and all styles. I have had a mad passionate affair with sparkling wines and they are always top of mind. Wine nourishes our soul and is the key to connecting with other people at our dinner table. Salute, James © 2014, 2017 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social medias.
This entry was posted in Puglia. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s