Producer Profile: Inland from the Adriatic Sea, central Puglia forms the heel of Southern Italy’s boot, and within this region a small town named Sammichele di Bari rises high on a plateau known as Altopiano delle Murge, or more simply, Murgia. The town’s population is modest – around 6000 – though this is a place defined first and foremost by its agricultural past and present. The bucolic environs around Sammichele attest to such landed practices here of olive & cherry cultivation, grapevines typically farmed for local consumption or sold off to larger wineries. Cattle farming has been a specialty here, with Sammichele famous for a special kind of dish called Zampina, a specific type of sausage that is the star of a local festival each year called ‘Sagra della Zampina’ or Festival of The Paw. It is here that a group of friends that had plied their trade as craft brewers decided to switch the fermentation gears and take up their dream project of farming and making natural wine. One of the town’s old white stone farmhouses – locally known as a Masseria – had long been in the family of Marianna Pastore Bovio, and their concomitant grapevines had been farmed organically for decades though, as was common practice, their grapes were sold rather than made into wine on the estate. In 2019, this changed when she and her husband – along with five friends and brewers – decided to convert the old stable house (for cattle!) into a fermentation cellar, and to farm three hectares of their estate for the production of natural wine, fresh and wild takes on local classics, such as Primitivo. Though undoubtedly – despite being only 2 years old! – the watermark of the wines of Masseria La Cattiva is adventure and daring. These are some of the most exciting wines being made in the southeast of Italy – devilishly delicious bottles with some flair.
Vinification: 100% Trebbiano. Grapes hand-harvested, direct-pressed and fermented in stainless steel using wild yeasts. Bottled unfined, unfiltered with no SO2.
Tasting: On the nose: hints of clove, dried sorrel and buckwheat. The palate has a touch of spritz and is a mix of savory fruit and lemony tang. While tasting this, someone blurted out "MISO JUICE???" which, once said out loud, could not escape our judgements. So that's what this is: low ABV Miso Juice. Also reminiscent of the delightful, carbonated, yogurty Korean beverage Makgeolli. This may all sound strange, but it works so well... Pair with a spicy noodle dish and let it rock your world.