Susumaniello Sign

~ The offices of Cantine Menhir in Salento ~

Susumaniello.  Do you know Susu?  Say it with me: Sue-Sue-Mahn-Yellow…   It’s not that hard.  It’s an ancient grape from an ancient land and despite my 30+ years of tasting the wines of Italy, I had never heard of it.  Discover it with me today.

Cantine Menhir lies in the southern Italian province of Apulia, the iconic “heel” of Italy’s boot.  Owned by the Marangelli since 2002, the 43 hectare farm is now run by patriarch Gaetano.

The family’s commitment to excellence is rooted in it’s history.  Their mission is simple: “We discover the future by respecting the past.”

Susumaniello Harvest

~ Cantine Menhir has been certified organic since its inception ~

So what is Susumaniello?  Well, as you might not be surprised to learn, no one really knows!  The grape is an ancient variety that is only found in Puglia. Often regarded as a little thought of blending grape, in 2003 it was approved by the Apulian Regents for Cultivation.  Little was known about Susumaniello until a 2008 DNA study commissioned by the Italian government showed it to be a cross between Sangiovese and another, as yet unidentified, grape.

Susumaniello Grapes

~ Susumaniello on the vine ~

Cantine Menhir produces several lines of wines.  It’s premium collection is called “Pietra” under which the Susumaniello wine is produced. First crafted as a stand alone wine beginning in 2016, the current vintage release is the 2018.

The 2018 Cantine Menhir Pietra Susumaniello is a dark violet in the glass with pretty reflections throughout.  Immediately upon pouring, the aromas are decisive.  Blue flowers, crushed cherry, wet stones and cured meat are really wonderful.  Not being sure what to expect, it was the purity that struck me.

On the palate, the wine is fresh and lively.  Crushed berry flavors are accented with fresh scrub herbs, new leather and slight hints of cracked black pepper.  This is well balanced with well integrated tannins that provide structure but do not interfere.  Pietra is an excellent value and frankly, I wish I’d bought more!  93 points.  About $18.  Find this wine.

Susumaniello wine

~ The Pietra Susumaniello opened my eyes. This is a fresh, versatile wine that is worth having in your cellar ~

We have enjoyed this wine several times since I purchased it.  It’s so delicious now, I see no reason to cellar it.  As the picture shows above, this was wonderful with risotto with baby kale and chicken sausage.

Sausage Risotto

~ Susumaniello made a perfect pairing with this risotto ~


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