Italian Indigenous Varieties: Aleatico

My series on Italian grape varieties continues on Altacucina Society’s website. This week’s article is on Aleatico. Aleatico grows in a number of different Italian regions, the most famous of which are Tuscany, Apulia and Lazio. I have tried a number of these wines and find them quite interesting. Aleatico can be made into a dry wine or a passito (dessert wine). I much prefer the dessert versions.

At Vinitaly, I dragged David Buchanan to try some lovely ones from Apulia. We tried an Aleatico from Tenute Rubino from Brindisi. The wine was quite rich with floral and berry aromas. Tenute Rubino is a very interesting winery but I was more taken with another of their wines than with the Aleatico.

Aleatico Passito Castel Del Salve

The Aleatico Passito from Apulia that I preferred was from Castel di Salve from the Salento region of Apulia. The winery is from the 1880s and is run by two men named Francesco who take their jobs very seriously.

The wine was full bodied and sweet without being overpowering. I like the philosophy of this winery as well. They try to work with only indigenous grapes and to bring out the true expression of the local varieties. I also really liked their packaging. They are located in Depressa, way down the coast of Italy. I was lucky enough to spend some time in this area back in 2002. I wasn’t aware of the winery at the time but I can highly recommend the Salento for a wonderful vacation with beautiful beaches, churches, meals, and people. Don’t go there on a diet though, you will miss out on all the fun…

Castel di Salve


  1. There you go!
    Love that stuff…found some ancient bottles years ago, must have been almost 40 years old. Thick and rich and viscous and gorgeous.

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