Conte Di Campiano Salento IGT Susumaniello 2015

As far as I can ascertain, the variety Susumaniello is not grown in Australia yet but give the Chalmers family time and it could well be part of its innovative Project Wines portfolio before too long. 

As a background, Susumaniello is an ancient red wine variety indigenous to Puglia and grown exclusively in the Salice Salentino DOC region in a handful of vineyards around the town of Brindisi. Sources indicate that less than 100 hectares are grown only in this area making it one of the world's rarest (red) varieties.   

According to the keepers of local wisdom Its name means 'little donkey' in the local dialect, a reference to either how stubborn the variety is to manage or to its heavy yields that only donkeys could transport. Either way, the wine has the kick on it like an angry donkey.

Until recently used primarily as a blending component, Susumaniello is now achieving impressive results in its own right as interest in southern Italian varieties ramps up worldwide. Also recently, DNA testing has found that the variety is a progeny of Sangiovese on the one hand but as yet its second parent has not been determined. Gargenega has been mentioned in addition to some other local Puglian varieties. 

 Its colour is intense ruby red with purple edges in the glass. The nose is complex offering up red currant, pomegranate, violets, dried herbs with some charred meat and cedar wood aromas.  

The 2015 Conte Di Campiano Susumaniello tastes like a rustic-type Merlot off the bat. But a Merlot on anabolic steroids and peptide growth factors that the WADA would need to get involved to investigate ! 

Dense and full-bodied with powerful yet fine tannins. Despite a voluptuous texture, the wine tastes surprisingly fresh with elegant lines throughout the journey. Plum, blackberry, tart red cherry flavours, bitter chocolate, black pepper.    

A good balanced dry wine with the zesty acidity keeping the fruit flavours bright and the tannins providing a firm structure. There's a slight bitterness on the aftertaste. 

A rare and unusual wine with which to expand your drinking horizons. For the wine geeks and intellectuals alike ! 
As in Puglia, given some of our own hot and arid growing regions plus the increase in global warming, the Susumaniello variety could have real potential here in producing some serious wines in future years. 

Source: Gift. ABV: 15.0%. Closure: Screw Cap. Price: N/A. Rating: 88 Points. 

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