Minor Red Grapes

NOTARDOMENICO

As with Sussumaniello and Ottavianello, Notardomenico too exhibits strong historic ties with the province of Brindisi, where it is often co-planted with Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera. In contrast to its “neighbours,” however, Notardomenico is never produced as a monovarietal wine, although a few courageous producers have experimented in that direction. Little planted, this variety develops a medium-small cluster, conical or cylindrical, winged or not, and medium compact; the berry is a lovely dark red tending to purple. In some communes around Brindisi, Notardomenico is much used for the production of rosés.

OTTAVIANELLO

Known in France as Cinsaut, Ottavianello originated in all likelihood in Campania, in the Ottaviano area of the province of Naples, and was then introduced into Puglia, the province of Brindisi, by Marchese di Bugnano di San Vito dei Normanni in the .latter half of the 19th century. The cluster is medium-sized, long and pyramidal, non-winged and fairly compact; the purplish berry is delicate with heavy bloom. Today, Ottavianello has a strong bond with the Brindisi area, where, though not widely planted, it a primary variety in the Ostuni DOP; it is also included in numerous Salento DOPs, where it blends well with Negroamaro and Primitivo.

SUSUMANIELLO

Sussumaniello, originating probably in Dalmatia, is a native Puglia grape that has been grown for centuries, in the province of Brindisi above all, and more generally throughout the Salento. It has aroused more recent interest among researchers, producers, and wine consumers inasmuch as Sussumaniello, traditionally utilised as an excellent blending grape with other varieties--often with Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera, with which it is co-planted--, is proving that it can give impressive results as a monovarietal wine.
Known also as Somarello Nero, it owes its name to the heavy crop it bears during its first ten years, when its shoots are “as heavily-laden as a donkey (somaro)”; its crop then decreases dramatically in successive years. It presents a compact cluster with small or semi-large berries that oddly enough do not develop astringent tannins, so that the grapes can undergo slow, lengthy macerations. It is included in the Salento DOP.

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