The first stop on my trip to Italy in May 2013 was the Rivera Estate in Puglia. Puglia, known as the heel of the “boot” of Italy, is bordered by Molise to the north, Campania to the west, and Basilicata to the southwest. It is one of the richest archaeological regions in Italy. The perfect Mediterranean climate is ideal for wine production, fruits, vegetables and olive oil. In fact, Puglia produces approximately 15% of the world’s olive oil and 40% of Italy’s extra virgin olive oil.
The de Corato family founded the Azienda Vinicola Rivera in the late 1940’s, inspired by a vision of bringing the world’s attention to the enormous viticultural potential of the Castel del Monte area. In fact, the Castel del Monte symbol on the label represents one of the most exceptional winegrowing areas in Puglia. Better known varieties like Primitivo and Montepulciano are grown but the winery also boasts a range of wines dedicated to other native grapes such as Bombino Bianco, Bombino Nero, Nero di Troia and Negroamaro to name a few. International white varieties Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are now included in the Castel del Monte production as well.
Beltramo’s represents a number of wines from this benchmark estate:
We have a small amount left of the 2012 Rose $7.99 (available in-store only). This Rose is made from 100% Bombino Nero grown in the northern territory of Puglia used exclusively for the production of Rose. Uncomplicated, dry and refreshing, not exactly Rose season but attractively priced.
The 2011 Bombino Bianco ($10.99) is unique, exotic fruit, balanced acidity. Perhaps my favorite wine for value Rivera makes is the 2010 Rupicolo $12.99. Potpourri and Christmas spices, fruity and bittersweet. The family served this wine to accompany giant Orecchiette pasta with a smoky tomato sauce: absolutely delicious.
One of the top cru wines produced is the 2007 Il Falcone Riserva ($34.99), a blend of 70% Nero di Troia and 30% Montepulciano. Barrel spice, red fruit, earthy notes, long and fleshy on the palate with a hint of tension on the finish.
The de Corato family was most generous. I had an amazing dinner made by the family followed by a morning tour of the Castel del Monte and vineyards led by Sebastiano de Corato . The olive oil produced on the estate is, perhaps, the most delicious I’ve tasted.
Howard Padgett, Imported Wine Buyer
Carlo and Sebastiano de Corato
A typical encounter in the Murge hills
Nero di Troia is the premier grape of the Castel del Monte area