Vigne & Vini is a major operation in the Salentino area of Apulia. The Varvaglione family started a winemaking operation here in 1921 and the business has grown from these beginnings to the present size. Annual wine production is some 10 million litres, but most is sold off fuso (in bulk), and only the best wines make it into the 600,000 bottles annually sold under their own name.
Winemaking facilities are very modern, and the Varvagliones strive to make modern, highly drinkable wines. It is important to note that all of it is based on indigenous grape varieties, which the Varvagliones champion with pride. There are several lines of wine, among which an organic range, and the total count of individual bottlings is well in excess of 15.
My tasting notes:
Salento Verdeca Moi 2011
Very fresh and light on the nose, with apple notes veering towards citrus. Light, fresh and with citrussy acidity in the mouth. Short, light, fresh, very drinkable.
Salento Rosato Moi 2011
This is 100% negroamaro. Slightly reductive nose with pale, light raspberry, slight mineral. Light in the mouth, balanced acidity, slight residual sugar. Acceptable length, raspberry and mineral.
Salento Negroamaro 12 e Mezzo 2010
Delicious small dark berries on the nose, fresh, juicy style, hints of tobacco and spices. Fresh and juicy in the mouth, with dry tannins and slight residual sugar. The charming berry fruitiness is repeated in the fairly short aftertaste.
Salento Primitivo 12 e Mezzo 2010
This has spent 12 months in barrique. Exotic wood, plums and spices on the nose. Round and soft in the mouth, slight residual sugar, dry tannins. OK length with exotic wood, coffee, plums, slightly floral. New wood…
Salento Primitivo Passione 2008
This has only been 3 months in barrique. Fresh nose with sweet, slightly caramelly berry fruit, hint of oriental spices and an acidulous/dry component. Fresh and soft in the mouth, with somewhat rustic tannins. OK length with berries, spices and tobacco.
Primitivo di Manduria Papale Oro 2008
Considerably powerful nose with exotic wood, cloves, sweet dark fruit and oriental perfume. Very extracted in the mouth, fruit sweetness and finely grained tannins. Long and concentrated, with exotic wood, Arabian perfume, spices and flowers. Far too much new wood here.
Obviously, given the size of the operation, the Varvagliones have to think in terms of markets and price points. I think they do this better than most at the basic level, however, once we move up into more prestigious wines, I somehow get the notion that small, new wood is applied indiscriminately, just because this is seen as more prestigious in itself. If that is indeed the case, I couldn’t agree less; wood can be a good means towards a goal, but when it gets to dominate as in the dearer wines here, the wines become barely recognizable in terms of varietal character and terroir. The good news is that the Varvagliones are clearly working with excellent raw materials for the dearer wines, and I am sure that a few minor adjustments could render the wines much more typical and – for me, at least – more drinkable.