Must-Try Wine of Week: 2013 ASKOS Verdeca Masseria Li Veli Italian White Wine

On the Salento peninsula of southern Italy known as the “heel of Italy,” the Falvo family founded Masseria Li Veli in 1999, with the goal of producing wines from the region’s native grape varieties, such as primitivo, negroamaro, verdeca, susumaniello, and aleatico. The Falvos acquired and renovated a pre-existing stone structure dating back to the late 19th century, and quickly established a reputation as a benchmark producer of indigenous wines from this region.

Masseria Li Veli wines, imported exclusively by Dalla Terra Winery Direct, offer incredible value. Dalla Terra forgoes the traditional three-tiered distribution system, allowing distributors to purchase and ship wine direct from the wineries, eliminating an average of 25 percent mark-ups on each bottle.

I really enjoy drinking little-known white varietals because of their individuality and uniqueness. This wine is made from an ancient Apulian grape that has nearly disappeared. The Greek word, askos, (meaning wine jar) was chosen as a symbol of the wine-making, a practice in Publia started by the ancient Greeks.

Light golden-yellow in color, it offers an enticing perfume of tropical citrus, spice, kiwi, and apricot. Full-flavored on the palate, with notes of banana, brioche, melon, blood orange, and spice in a medium-bodied, silky style. It’s a perfect option for those who’ve lost interest in chardonnay and want a different taste experience.

Priced reasonably at $18, this wine is a perfect aperitif, or can compliment spiced ethnic foods, veal dishes, or butternut squash ravioli with cream sauce. It’s available at the Wine Club in Santa Ana, the Wine Exchange in Santa Ana, and the Twisted Vine in Fullerton.

I can also recommend the 2013 Passamante Salice Salentino from Li Veli, a red wine filled with luscious boysenberry, blackberry, and black cherry fruit priced at only $13.

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