An unusual Italian offering… Vino Passito from Salento… what is Vino Passito from Salento? Well, Vino Passito is a style of wine, also known as Straw Wine, which involves the drying of grapes on straw mats to concentrate and “raisinate” the grapes before fermentation. The byproduct of the process is a heightened complexity and intensity in the resulting wine. In the case of this wine, the process involves late harvesting the finest grapes after they have been allowed to dry on the vine. Not quite traditional, because the process does illicit similar results.

Salento is a region in Puglia in Southern Italy known for full-throttle reds made from the native Primitivo and Negroamaro grapes. This wine is a 50/50 blend and the late harvest process showcases the intensity of these two varieties.

My impressions… Lush, fruity nose with loads of cooked fruit and exotic spice. Broad palate with jammy, dark flavors. Well-balanced and smooth with soft, integrated tannins. Long finish with layers of unfolding complexity. Drinking superbly with moderate aging potential. Simply wonderful.

The other good news? This wine is a fantastic value at an average price in the Boston-area of $14.99/ per bottle pre-discount.