Castel del Monte, one of the Puglia’s best-known denominations, is produced in a very extensive area surrounding Castel del Monte, a castle of the 13th-century Emperor Fredrick II and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in the centre-north of the Region. The vineyards lie at elevations between 180-450 metres. The most common type of soil is medium-deep, with abundant presence of dolomite and dolomitic limestone in well-delineated strata that are just a few centimetres (known as chiancarelle) to a few metres thick. While surface water sources are almost completely absent, there is a notable subsurface aquifer, though at considerable depths. The climate can be defined as dry-Mediterranean, with some 560mm of rainfall per year, largely concentrated in the autumn-winter period. In the summer months of June through August, the dry period, rainfall drops off dramatically to around 100mm. January sees cold temperatures, averaging 7°C but dipping often to below 0°C. The highest temperatures are in August and also in July, averaging 25°C. Long-traditional systems of vine-training, alberello (bush-trained) and Guyot, are prevalent in the Castel del Monte denomination, since they are well-suited to a hot-dry growing area, in contrast to more expansive methods directed to higher per-vine yields. The significant depth at which the aquifer of the Murgia karst plateau lies and the consequent high cost of extracting its water have limited the use of irrigation, with the result that use of expansive training systems generally remains restricted to lower, more fertile areas. The Castel del Monte denomination, introduced as early as 1971, boasts a wide range of grape varieties and wine types. Bombino Bianco, Pampanuto, and Chardonnay are generally used for white wine production. Nero di Troia, the area’s native red grape par excellence, is increasingly frequent in reds, although other varieties are still much-used, such as Aglianico and Montepulciano, while Bombino Nero is the grape of choice for rosés. The new Castel del Monte Rosso Riserva DOCG production code introduced in 2011 specifies that the term Riserva may be used only for wines from Cabernet Sauvignon and Aglianico. If the variety is listed on the label, the minimum amount of that grape is 90%.

Categories: Rosso (red), Bianco (white), Rosato (rosé), Riserva (reserve), Frizzante (semi-sparkling), Spumante (sparkling), Novello (nouveau).

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