Leone de Castris is an Italian winery located in the Puglia region. Their most well-known wines are the Five Roses rosato and the Donna Lisa Rosso.
Villa Santera is produced in the area of Manduria and with 100% Primitivo di Manduria grapes. I had a 2010 vintage which has a listed alcohol by volume of 14%.
Together with Villa Santera I dined grilled salsiccia with Mediterranean salad and as dessert I enjoyed a espresso-caramel chocolate.
Ok so back to the wine. We didn’t decant it since it’s supposed to be a young and refreshing wine. All we did was chill its temperature to around 18°C.
The wine falls under the appellation Primitivo di Manduria DOC. The wine aged in oak for six months.
Villa Santera had a deep red color that goes towards purple. On the nose, I smelled very little vanilla and nothing. The palate had aggressive, unpleasing tannins and strong alcohol notes while being very dry.
So we sat there and thought: “What can we do with this wine? It’s undrinkable”. We decided to chill it down to around 8°C and gave the wine a second chance. I know it’s rather unusual to chill red wines like this but we didn’t know what else to do with it.
Second try: There were aromas of vanilla and a bit of ginger. There was also a bit of red fruit. That was much better than when we first tried it but by the time we gave the wine his second chance we were already done with dinner but oh well.
After taking a sip, the wine seemed to have less aggressive tannins. Villa Santera remained dry. There were still too many unpleasing tannins though. I started to taste a bit of chocolate. The finish was short. Chilling the wine helped a bit. It tasted a bit like a low-quality South-Italian dessert wine.
I’m sure the way we drank the Leone de Castris’ Villa Santera wasn’t the way it was meant to be but for us there was not really another option besides not drinking it at all. The wine retails for around 8€. For that price there are better options available which demand less experimentation. I have a bottle of Leone de Castris Salice Salentino Riserva 2008 left in my cellar and really hope it will taste much better! I certainly will not buy the Villa Santera Primitivo di Manduria again.