Over the course of the last few posts on the Xtrawine website, we’ve taken a look at several Italian wines that we believe are worth your attention.
We suppose that you could consider these reviews something of an early “best of” list for 2020. It’s by no means a comprehensive list. But the wine’s we’ve reviewed over the last few weeks are all wonderful examples of their vintages.
And the wine that we’re going to look at in this article isn’t any different.
Agricola Felline is the company behind the wine that we’re going to put in the spotlight today.
Let’s find out a little more about them before we take a closer look at the gorgeous wine that they create.
In the years to come, when people look back at the achievements of the Felline wine company, we’ll look at what they did in two parts.
The first is the winery itself, which has made its mark by producing some absolutely stunning wines. Of particular note is its work with the Primitivo di Manduria grape and vintage, which has led to a resurgence in the popularity of these types of wine.
The second are the educational efforts that the team at the heart of the company have made. Felline is as concerned about producing the winemakers of tomorrow as it is with crafting gorgeous wines for today.
Let’s look at the winery first.
The Felline name is not a family name, as many might assume. Instead, it’s derived from the stunning Manduria region. Long known as being a favoured site amongst archaeologists, the region is also of note for the stunning beaches that run along its coastline.
Scattered around these beaches are the ruins and remains of a vast ancient city. And it is this city, which has long since been lost to the passage of time, that gives Agricola Felline its name.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this city is that its legend stretches back practically to the time of Jesus Christ himself. It is said that the site on which the city stood was the site of an ancient shipwreck.
The legend goes that St. Peter made it his mission to spread the gospel of Christ and wide following the death of the saviour. He departed from Antioch, likely at some point around the year 45AD, and travelled by ship to preach the gospel.
He had Rome in his sights, but he didn’t quite make it to the city. Instead, his ship crashed on the shores of the Manduria region.
Desperate for help, he relied on the aid of the people of the ancient city of Felline. They provided him with first aid and even welcomed him into the village.
Unfortunately, all was not well at the village. A bout of terrible plague, coupled with the spread of leprosy, afflicted the inhabitants.
Touched by their plight and thankful for the help of these people, St. Peter made it his mission to help. The legend goes that he performed miracle after miracle to free the Felline people and their king from this blight.
And it is through this work that he converted the city’s entire population. Felline became a centre of the earliest form of Christianity, long before the rest of Italy followed suit.
St. Peter eventually reached Rome, where he founded the Catholic Church. And though Rome would become the new centre of Catholicism, it was Felline that could consider the starting point.
It is that acceptance of the new that has defined the winery that carries the name in the modern age. Felline has always aimed to produce wines that are equal parts innovative and beautiful. Perhaps the people behind the company draw inspiration from this legend.
But moving away from the Felline winery, we also have the Accademia Dei Recemi. Perhaps this, as much as the wines that the company produces, showcases Felline’s work in bringing wine to more people.
Founded in 1996, the project brings together some of the strongest and most creative minds in Italian viticulture.
To research and revitalise the native grapes of the Puglia region.
The Primitivo di Manduria was just the first of what the project hopes will be many vintage that exist because of the hard work of those involved. The wine brought to light the sheer quality of the grape used in its production, showing us that the Italian wine industry still has so much more to offer in the process.
Today, the project continues its research into lesser-known grape varieties. And of course, the Felline winery still creates some truly stunning wines for public consumption.
Let’s take a closer look at one of the best to emerge from the company in quite some time.
The Felline Primitivo di Manduria Sinfarosa Zinfandel 2017 is a gorgeous Italian red wine that we believe deserves a lot more attention that it’s currently receiving.
Available for less than €15, which is a remarkably reasonable price given the quality of the wine, this red offers beautiful balance and an interesting combination of notes.
Upon pouring the wine, you’ll see that distinctive ruby red colouring that tells you that this is wine that’s matured to a good point. However, it still has ageing potential of between 10 and 15 years, if you wish to keep hold of it for a while longer.
Dark fruits make up the lion’s share of the bouquet, with black cherries and plums being particularly prominent. Those who explore further will find more mineral notes, including a touch of balsamic aroma that helps temper the stronger fragrances found in the wine.
But it is to the taste that you will discover the wonderful balance that has been achieved here.
The wine’s tannins have been perfectly integrated with the various flavour notes, which creates a full-bodied wine that leaves you feeling warm and satisfied. The persistence of the aftertaste is just an added bonus for an already wonderful experience.
The Xtrawine team fell in love with this wine upon sampling it. We award it a rating of 91/100.