Between vines of Negroamaro and Susumaniello grow wild asparagus, fennel, chicory, mallow and chamomile. The beguiling fragrance blends with the salty sea breeze. The Adriatic coast is just one kilometre from the Vigna Castello vineyard. In the hinterland, the massive tower of Castello Serranova rises from dense olive groves. We are in the middle of Vallone country.
Azienda Flaminio near Brindisi, Iore in San Pancrazio Salentino and Vigna Castello near Serranova - from these three estates with melodious names, Vallone's excellent wines of the DOC Salice Salentino, Igt Salento, DOC Brindisi as well as the top wine Graticciaia are produced. The finest olive oil is also produced here. The iron-rich soil also produces exceptionally aromatic tomatoes and artichokes. The sisters Vittoria and Maria Teresa Vallone, manager Dottore Lazzari and oenologist Graziana Grassini welcome us to the enchanting Castello Serranova. One senses that these four personalities harmonize perfectly. The fortified estate with its fortified tower and chapel once offered protection against Saracen raids. Today, this typical masseria has an indescribably peaceful atmosphere. Birds chirp, red bougainvillea cover the walls, lemon trees grow in the castle garden. The view extends over extensive olive groves and the vineyard Vigna Castello down to the sea. During harvest time, reed mats are laid out on the terrace. On them, Vallone lets hand-picked grapes from the Azienda Flaminio dry in the
sun. No effort is spared for the production of the multiple award-winning Graticciaia.
"Viticulture was foreign to me and my sister. Fortunately, we could always count on excellent employees. And Dottore Lazzari was always faithfully at our side."
Maria Teresa, Vallone
The special microclimate of Serranova gives the wine a special note. The purebred Negroamaro has long been one of the most famous top wines in Italy. The charming hosts invite you to a snack in the stylishly
furnished rooms of the castle. We toast with a glass of Vigna Castello, accompanied by extremely tasty, light appetizers. The ruby red wine reflects the wonderful scents, the warmth, the light and the enchanting landscape of the nearby vineyard.
Vittoria and Maria Teresia tell how they took over the management of Vallone because their brother died much too young through a tragic stroke of fate. Maria Teresia was studying architecture at the time. "I knew something about that. However, viticulture was foreign to me and my sister. Fortunately, we could always count on excellent employees. And Dottore Lazzari has always been faithfully at our side." For decades, the agronomist has been running Vallone's business. He and the two sisters form a family team. For some years, the renowned enologist Graziana Grassini has also been part of it. Three women, one man. No problem for Lazzari?
"Not at all. I appreciate being able to work with these charming ladies. Since I'm the cock of the walk, I get spoiled accordingly." The likeable manager laughs happily. In general, there is a lot of laughter on this afternoon. Vallone is not just any producer. Behind it are four extremely warm-hearted people. They consider their wines as a precious gift, which the ocher-colored earth of Apulia has entrusted to them.
Text: Daminan Zingg | Source: Vergani Magazine 3