Natalino with his daughter, just back from university to join the family business.

Del Prete - The Heart of Puglia

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Although steel, chemical, manufacturing and high-tech industries are all now part of the Puglian economy, agriculture is still the lifeblood of the region. Hot and flat, with constant sea breezes from both sides of the Salento peninsula, Puglia is an agricultural paradise - producing half of Italy’s olive oil and about 20 percent of the country's wine, (more than any other region / second only to Veneto). Until about twenty years ago Puglia was the center of bulk wine production, but now boasts 4 DOCG, 29 DOC and 6 IGT zones.

Located about 30 minutes outside of Lecce, one of the most beautiful towns in Italy, Del Prete stands as a beacon of natural winemaking in a sea of bulk wine production. The Del Prete family has had these vines for generations, but the patriarch Natalino was the first to really focus on viticulture. Working with just 10 hectares, he mainly grows Primitivo and Negroamaro but also has a small amount of Malvasia Nera and Aleatico. Certified organic since 1994, he doesn’t use any fertilizers or chemicals, and there is minimal plowing and no irrigation.

Stepping into their cellar is like stepping back into time. They are using the same press and concrete tanks that have been in use for decades. There are no bells and whistles, just wine making in its most basic and rustic form. Although they sell out every vintage, they haven’t raised their prices in years and there is no real plan for expansion, perhaps only to buy a couple of more hectares and replant vines as needed. Christine Manula

 

 

Del Prete 2015 IGT Salento Torre Nova Negroamaro

Torre Nova is 100% Negroamaro from 30-60 year old vines grown on clay and rocky pebbles. The 2015 is quite light and a bit higher in acid than the last vintage, but it’s really pretty on the palate. Think tart cherries and red plums, it’s very herbaceous with a hint of nuts and pepper on the finish. Try pairing this with roast pigeon, a simply prepared fish or even beef tartare. Christine Manula

  • red
  • 3 in stock
  • $13.99

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Del Prete 2015 Negroamaro Anne

Named after Natalino’s wife Anne, this Negroamaro is from 30-60 year old vines grown on clay and chalk. At harvest, Natalino destems and presses the grapes 2 -3 times, puts it in cement tanks for five days of skin contact, racks the wine and then leaves it in cement from September to March. Before bottling, he puts the wine in stainless steel for a few weeks to refine and then adds a very low dose of sulfur at bottling. The result is a medium bodied wine with good tannins that tastes of dark cherries and cocoa, with a hint of nuts and pepper. Try pairing it with a traditional Pugliese dish like pasta with chickpeas and anchovies, slow cooked lamb with potatoes, or just throw a tuna steak on the grill. Christine Manula 

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $16.99

Del Prete 2015 Primitivo del Salento Nataly

“Nataly” is named after Natalino himself. The wine is fermented and aged in concrete tanks and underground concrete vats, with a very low dose of sulfur at bottling. It’s bit fuller in body than the Negroamaro with meatier tannins, juicy dark plums, violets, anise and a hint of pepper on the finish. Try pairing Primitivo with Spaghetti Puttanesca, Seafood Jambalaya, Short Ribs or hard cheeses like Edam or Smoked Gouda. Christine Manula 

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $17.99