2018 Duca Carlo Guarini 'Taersia' Negroamaro Biologico Bianco Salento

2018 Duca Carlo Guarini 'Taersia' Negroamaro Biologico Bianco Salento

Regular price $25

Region: Salento < Puglia < Italy
Grapes: Negroamaro (red)
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming; red grapes are hand-harvested quickly (and softly) pressed off skins, then a small part of the free-run must is fermented, for a very long time, in stainless steel; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal added SO2; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Carlo Guarini

We visited 3rd gen Carlo Guarini at his family's stone cantina (from the 1700's) in the middle of a tiny town in Salento, the southernmost part of Puglia.  Locals were lined up outside with their 5L jugs, waiting to fill up at the tap and take home certified-organic Duca Carlo Guarini rosato, or bubbles, maybe the Negroamaro vinified wine, and for sure some of the pretty, balanced Negroamaro biologico. Several things here are not normal, especially in Puglia: an old winery still standing in the middle of town, certified-organic wine (not a big thing yet in Puglia) and Negroamaro vinified white.  But the Guarini family has always done things differently.  Carlo's father was the first in the Salento region to become certified organic over 30 years ago, because, he said, why not?  We're already farming without chemicals, we might as well get the paper.  And as for the Negroamaro done white, well, there are no native white grapes in this particular part of Puglia, and it's super hot and humid here.  The people want white wine.  So they worked with what they had -- Negroamaro -- and quickly pressed it off the skin to make a white wine.  

Honestly, Carlo and his wines were such a refreshing discovery, proving that interesting, balanced, natural wine can be made in Puglia's far south, even in the heat, with careful farming and management.  Like picking early (and in the middle of the night) to preserve freshness.  Avoiding oak - here it's all steel and concrete.  And thinking outside of the box -- which is exactly what Carlo is doing both at the family's winery and with the new natural wine project he's starting with his brother (coming soon!).   We loved a bunch of his wines, some of which we're working on getting overseas, and this crazy white Negroamaro.  The grapes come from a vineyard 200m from the Adriatic sea, benefitting from the cooling sea breeze and salt spray. The grape selection and early picks are fundamental, as these red grapes must be perfectly healthy and almost ripe (but not actually ripe) with the just right acid content, in order to become a white wine that is bright, crisp and refreshing with enough fruit to be interesting.  A whole Goldilocks dilemma.  But it totally works, and is so refreshing and delicious, with a creamy texture, subtle red fruit and crisp Anjou pear, that we drank it on repeat while in Puglia.  In the language of the fishermen of Salento, 'Taersìa' means “a storm is coming" -- which is fitting, because this wine, and the others we tasted with Carlo, are so unique that they will most certainly take the Puglia wine scene by storm.

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