Wine blending and Orecchiette in a splendid Masseria
Next on the schedule was Masseria Altemura, a winery in the heart of Manduria. Masserias are ancient farm developments that were fortified against attack. They were small walled communities in which several families could live and work off the land. There was plenty of room for livestock as well as gardens within the walls of the masseria We were in for a great afternoon! After being greeted by Patrizia, the winemaker Antonio and their dog, we were given a tour of their facility by young Giulia who was not only working at the winery but also on achieving her WSET designation. This is a beautiful property with olive trees and vines as far as the eye can see. After the tour we tried our hand at blending with Antonio the winemaker at Altemura.
We were each given a bottle of Primitivo and Negro Amaro, a graduated cylinder to measure and were left to create our perfect blends. Once we came up with our favourite recipe we bottled our creations! Even though this was a bit of a messy exercise, it was great fun. Next we were invited to try our hands at making orecchiette – the traditional pugliese pasta which look like little ears. Elisa the chef was very patient with her students who clearly needed more practice! Now finally some wine tasting. In their beautifully set dining room we started by sampling their Rosamaro, a sparkling rose made with 100% Negro Amaro. This was perfectly paired with olives, taralli, and freshly made focaccia. What a lovely way to start a nice long lunch!
Once we sat down, plate after plate came out of the kitchen. We were served family style starting with an antipasto of local salamis and meats, cheeses, zucchine, crepes, vegetables and more! Alongside these dishes we were served their Fiano, a crisp white that was absolutely lovely. We were then served orecchiette (made by Elisa and not us thankfully!) in a delicious yet simple tomato sauce. We then tried Sasseo, their Primitivo Salento. Dessert was a weightless strawberry cake with fluffy whipped mascarpone and cream. We were all very fat and happy after a few very enjoyable hours with the kind people at Masseria Altemura.