After a visit to my local Italian wine guru, Lance Montalto of the Wine House in Los Angeles, I found myself loaded up with all kinds of new and interesting geeky Italian wine finds.  One such treasure was so exciting I could barely wait 24 hours to open up the bottle… a lovely Verdeca from Masseria Li Veli.

Masseria Li Veli is the winery also responsible for another of my current obsessions- a Susumaniello so delicious its dark, fruity loveliness has not left my thoughts since I first tasted it (and learned how to pronounce Susumaniello).

I had never tasted this varietal before, at least not in purity.  It’s probably been hiding in some other Pugliese white bend, or even in a vermouth or two, but nobody is as bold and fearless as Masseria Li Veli when it comes to resurrecting and promoting these seldom-sung heroes of the Italian wine grape world.  They are one of the only wineries I know to vinify Verdeca alone, and with stupendous results.

The Verdeca is another of Masseria Li Veli’s cultural preservation projects, denoted by the “ASKOS” marking.  “Askos”, meaning “wine jar” in ancient Greek, is a symbol for Masseria Li Veli’s projects most concerned with the protection and promotion of the most ancient autochthonous grape varietals and wine making practices.

This wine is lovely, bright yellow with pretty green reflections.  It has a dusky, clean pear aroma reminiscent of those earth-colored Bosc pear skins.  The palate is full of bright fruit, mellowed and balanced by a waxy, spicy note.  Delicious wine, and perfect with a steaming bowl of Ramen. That salty, briny Ramen broth and the slippery steaming noodles just begged for the wine’s acidity and cool relief.  A perfect balance… who would have guessed?

Puglia, meet Ramen…

About The Author

I love all things Italian: the beautiful country of Italia, the Italians themselves, the language, the food… and above all, I love Italian wine. The people I meet in my charmed life are fascinating, the wines are extraordinary. I needed a special place like this to write about them, and to remember them.

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10 Responses

  1. The Blissful Adventurer

    Joanie,
    1st off welcome to my world 🙂 The Verdeca is easily my favorite wine from Li Veli among their many fine offerings. In Puglia Verdeca in Purezza is as common as Acqua Minerale and is often bottled with a bit of spritz like a good bottle of Ferrarelle (the Ferrarelle that comes to the states is loaded with CO2 boo)
    As for Susumaniello it is IMO the 2nd most interesting grape grown in Puglia. It is my understanding that Susumaniello (sing it like Phil Collins baby!) is actually a clone of Cinsault. I am not sure if the Normans packed a little on their marauding ships and did a little vine pruning on the shores of Torre Cane, but the grape no doubt makes lovely and usually lower alcohol wines than the “primitive” vines further south.
    Mo me n’i á scí! – Ué!

    Reply
  2. Come Due Maiali

    That bowl of Ramen looks awesome, too! Did you make it?
    We spent part of our last weekend in NYC taste-testing various ramen and soba places in the East village; they are so perfect for this weather!

    Reply
    • Joanie Karapetian, Italian Wine Geek

      That sounds fantastic! Did you write about this on Due Maiali? Did I miss it!?

      I did make the soup- I buy these really good noodles from a Japanese grocer and then freeze them. My husband gets a craving for Ramen once in awhile, so this is the quick fix!

      Reply
      • Come Due Maiali

        No, no, you did not miss anything. But, I will be posting a blurb tonight or tomorrow morning on yuba and the awesome creations involving yuba at those places. We are also big fans of our local Japanese grocer HANA (I just was there last night :-))

  3. andylmoore

    Ramen rocks. Comfort food at it’s best. And I like the fact you’re pairing Italian wine with Japanese food. Which brings me to my next question.
    What kind of red would you pair with spicy Thai food (chills, coconut milk, lemongrass, Kaffir limes leaves etc).

    I paired a hot dish I did on Saturday with a Pinot noir. Think it was a bit overpowered.

    Would love to get your advice.
    Cheers,
    Andy

    Reply
    • Joanie Karapetian, Italian Wine Geek

      For spicy foods I always think of those super high-acid mountain reds, like Sciava from Alto Adige, or Fumin from Valle d’Aosta. I like the smokiness of these reds paired with the heat from the spice in food. I also love a rich sparkling wine, like a rose Franciacorta or a Prosecco made in the traditional method (secondary fermentation in the bottle). Now this is just making me crave Thai food!

      Reply
  4. Caroline Edwards

    Joanie, great to see someone writing about Puglian Wine! If you like Susumaniello then you could also try the Serre Rosso from Cantina Due Palme, which is even better than the Li Veli one in my opinion… (and that of Gambero Rosso though I don’t always agree with them).. I think it is exported widely. Sadly a lot of the great wine here never makes it outside Italy but this is gradually changing….

    Reply

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