Italy is the greatest source in the world for high quality, characterful wines made from indigenous grapes. Portugal is in a solid second place, but Italy has a big head start. Each region has its unique voice and there are often inspiring producers seeking to rediscover lost grapes and give them a more perfect modern expression. Masseria Li Veli and its Askos program plays this role in Puglia.
Fragrant, Food-Loving Value
Masseria Li Veli is run by the former owners of Avignonesi of Montepulciano. They make some pretty serious wines. The wine, actually a blend of 90% Verdeca and 10% Fiano Minutolo is grown on calcerous soils from 32 year old vines. Fermentation occurs at very low temperatures to preserve aromatics and the juice is macerated on the skins, which gives the final product a nice, but fairly soft, tannic structure and improves aromatics even further.
Verdeca is usually used in blends for various DOC wines such as Gravina and Locorotondo, but is often uninteresting. This Varietal bottling from Li Veli is on another level.
The nose gives spicy lemon and apples. This is a highly fragrant wine. This continues on the palate, which adds pear and other orchard fruits and adds pleasure with its soft, waxy texture. The acidity is pitch perfect but the wine remains fruity and round, with a little hint of textural grip from the maceration.
I paired this with an octopus and spicy tomato sauce pasta and it was outstanding. At the price, this deserves to be imported into BC.
Very Good+ and highly recommended value
$17 at Liner and Elsen, Portland