For more than seventy years the family of Franco Cannito has owned and worked the land of what is now Azienda Agricola Cannito (www.agricolacannito.it). Franco himself took over in 1990 and set about investing and improving. The land is by now worked entirely using organic methods, and apart from wine Cannito produce olive oil, olives, vegetables in oil, fruits in syrup and other agricultural products. In short, they are living the Apulian dream, and are basically self-sufficient. I can’t help but like the notion, but that is probably because I am a hopeless romantic about these things; the reality is likely a lot of hard work.
The land lies within the Gioia del Colle denomination, and as such, Cannito forms part of the recent and wide resurgence of the wines from this rocky, wind-swept heartland of the primitivo variety. The total acreage is some 40 hectares, of which 5 are under vine. Average annual wine production is some 30,000 bottles, split into four different wines.
Franco is a quiet, soft-spoken man who prefers to let his wines speak for themselves, so here goes:
Gioia del Colle Rosato Plinio 2009
This wine is a blend of primitivo and montepulciano and has been made using the salasso (in French known as saignée) method, which consists of bleeding off some must early on in the red wine fermentation, and then continuing fermentation of the bled-off must as a white wine. No sulphur has been added to this wine, yet Franco deliberately presents a wine with a bit of age, as he thinks it improves with time. Predictably, the colour here is copperish, towards onion skin. The nose is quite serious and dry, with raspberries and minerals, and a tiny hint of oxidation. In the mouth it is dry and round, with a bit of tannin and good freshness. Decent length with light fruit and minerals. Not your run-of-the-mill rosé wine, for sure, and more of a food wine than a casual sipper.
Gioia del Colle Rosso Scudo Sannita 2009
This is made from 60% primitivo, 30% montepulciano and 10% negroamaro, and has been aged briefly in tonneaux. Delicious, smoldering nose with dark, round fruit, minerals, spices and flowers. Soft but juicy and firm fruit in the mouth, a bit of tannin. Good length with minerals, dry spices, dark fruit and light hint of tobacco. Lovely.
Gioia del Colle Primitivo Drùmon 2009
This has had a brief stay in tonneaux as well. Soft, slightly high fruit on the nose, slight spiciness, minerals and a bit of tobacco. Relatively slim in the mouth, soft, a bit of rustic tannin and quite light-toned fruit. OK length with light fruit, minerals and a hint of tobacco.
Gioia del Colle Primitivo Riserva Drùmon 2009
This has spent some 18 months in tonneaux. Delicious dark berry fruit on the nose, round, slightly spicy and slightly flowery. Soft, sweet, dark berry fruit in the mouth, medium weight towards full, good tannins. Long, minerally, lightly spicy, with fragrant tannins, tobacco hints, sweet fruit and flowers. Clearly, the better grapes went into the Riserva…
Gioia del Colle Primitivo Vendemmia Tardiva Mezzaluna 2009
Delicious, slightly high, sweet nose of cherry essence, sweet sauce, light spices, a hint of tar and meat. Light, fresh sweetness in the mouth, with finely grained tannins in evidence, medium weight. Long, redolent of fruits, flowers, hint of tobacco and tar. Fresh and lovely.