Our love story with wine, “Acini Spargoli Riserva 2012”, and the Garofano family of the Antico Palmento Cellar, began a dinner evening at Masseria Palombara in Oria (https://www.cittameridiane.it/en/masseria-palombara-stone-memories/). Those purple red velvet cups made us so weird that we wanted to know the craftsmen.
Antico Palmento by Garofano family in Manduria
So the next day we went to Manduria where we got to know the Garofano family almost complete because was missing Gabriele’s brother, Paolo, who works in Monza but also at a distance collaborates and soon we’ll show you how. Meanwhile around a table, accomplices smiles and wine, we started chatting with Bruno, Dad, Lina, Mom, Gabriele and Mariangela, sons.
Bruno’s passion for wine is long: after having been for forty years the oenologist of important Primitivo producers in the area, once retired, he decided to create a own wine cellar where he was involved in the family . And, like a river in full, tells us how it went.
In 1998 he decided to buy a few hectares of vineyards and an ancient palment, a place where small quantities of wine were produced and named after the grape juice and the fermentation of must.
When the structure was restored to its primitive beauty, the Garofano family installed here the entire production chain: some underground cisterns were vitrified and returned to winemaking; others, communicated with each other, are reserved for the refining and packaging of wine.
But before the visit to the suggestive spaces, we accommodated in the welcome area and the eno-enthusiastic courses as well as the tasting of typical wines and products. And we were abducted by the stories of Bruno who told us about his childhood and his youth in his native country in the province of Avellino, revealing episodes that even his sons did not know: the pleasure of shared wine manages to do these miracles, leaving space for the spontaneity and the scents of memories.
About the perfumes, those of the two only wines produced by Antico Palmento, “Acini Spargoli” and “La Dolce Vite”, are really special! Both derived from the primeval vine of this area, the Primitivo, the first in the dry version and the second in that sweet natural, emit an absolute sensuality and their aromas wrap up nose and palate. But the attention of the Garofano family is not limited to the very limited production of these nectars.
Great care is given to names and labels. One of our first curiosity concerns exactly what is meant by Acini Spargoli, the name attributed to D.O.C. Primitivo Manduria “Riserva”, a Primitivo purity of 14.5 volumes that inebriates the senses of sight, smell and taste. Bruno tells us that “spargoli” or scattered are called those grapes in which the pips are well spaced and do not pressure each other. The berries are radiant and of different sizes, but this is not a defect, rather it favors the passage of air into the bunches avoiding the mold. This is the technical explanation, while the sentimental one is related to memory and has to do with the old vineyards in which it was easier to find grape clusters where the grapes were not exactly the same, but they spargoli. For Dolce Vite, a sweet natural Primitivo that reaches 19 degrees, Bruno has inspired Fellini by paraphrasing his famous movie and linking it to the world of wine.
Even the labels, as we said, have long been considered. If for Acini Spargoli is a stylized peacock tail, where the eye at the tip of each feather is a grape juice, in Dolce Vite he wanted to resume an Apulian symbol, the pottery “reale” of Grottaglie from which they had eaten together the families gathered around a table. The element that leads to grapes and wine is the decoration, consisting of branches and vine leaves in various seasons with colors ranging from green to yellow to red.
It is time to unveil how Paolo contributes, even from far away, to doing his part: he is the one who draws the cars on the limited edition packs where the bottles reserved to the collectors are sold.
Mariangela then accompanies us to visit the jewel of the family, explaining to us all the various stages of production: after harvesting from low yields of 40-50 quintals per hectare, and the pork chops, musts and skins are introduced into the old vitrified fermented cement . At this point the fermentation starts and is carried out by spontaneous yeasts. After 7-8 days, the skins are separated, robbed and reintroduced into other vitrified tanks where a second fermentation takes 20 days. The wine is then placed in barriques for 10 months and then in steel tanks where it rests for up to 3 years, then filtered and refined in the bottle for another 6 months.
The ice is broken for a while, but we are happy that the family, who welcomed us with so much warmth and affection, wants to share our future with us by telling us the names of the next wines: 24 Carati for Sweet White and Chiodi di Garofano for the Red.
Now you have to get to know closely those scallops from which the Garofano collect the clusters for their wines. We arrive at sunset, when the rays of the sun color all the dust of loaded gold. The twisted branches of the vines between the ages of 40 and 60 appear to be sculpted by time, while the light wind moving the leaves, among which they can see the small and green berries, seems to whisper a sweet song.
The effect is very impressive but we think: will this caressing nose give the wine of the Antico Palmento all its sweetness?
Via Fabrizi 20/A, Manduria –Taranto
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