The Real Wine Fair 2014 – Cristiano Guttarolo, Gioia del Colle, Puglia

Last autumn I braved the journey that is ‘rail and sail’ from London to Dublin.

It was horrendous. Cancelled ferries, a 6 hour layover in Hollyhead, Wales, most of which I spent in a pub where the regulars were drinking pints of blue WKD, and a 3 hour ferry crossing so bumpy that I’m pretty sure Alton Towers could’ve franchised it, made me vow never to repeat the trip again.

Not being one to generally trust airline baggage handling staff with a suitcase full of wines, no matter how much bubble wrap is used, and also a strong preference to support my local independent wine shops means that many of the wines that I enjoyed at The Real Wine Fair will sadly forever be consigned to tasting notes rather than drinking notes.

This is a particular problem now that I’ve been introduced to Cristiano Guttarolo, a grower from Puglia. His Primitivo Amphora blew me away. Forget about ‘rail and sail’, this  would make me consider swimming the Irish Sea to get my hands on some.

Cristiano Guttarolo Primitivo Amphora

A cloudy ruby in the glass, the 2011 vintage spent 6 months on its skins in 500L terracotta amphorae. It showed bright fruit with a slightly herbal, rustic edge. A wine with real energy. The 2012 was very different – with only 20 days on its skins, it had less grip and was made in a very focussed fresh and fragrant style; light but still packing a flavour punch and with outstanding length. Could these wines really be made from the same grape? Could they even be Primitivo?

These wines showed me what Primitivo CAN be and destroyed my notions of Primitivo only producing ripe, fat and alcoholic wines.

These wines are imported to the UK by Tutto Wines and are available by retail at Noble Fine Liquor in Broadway Market. Goggles, wetsuits and flippers are widely available.