Locorotondo, located in the center of the Valle d’Itria, is the cutest little white washed town sitting on top of the hill and is designated ‘burgh piÃ¹ belli d’Italia,’ one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. Its also known as the’ city of white wine,’ cite del vino bianco, so we had to visit! Records have wine mentioned dating back to 1195.
Your visit to town won’t be a long one but a walk through the circular streets, the town gets its name from the Latin word Locus Rotundus, will be a feast for your eyes! Stop into the baroque church Chiesa Matrice or gothic Santa Maria della Greca. There are great views of the valley from the little park at the top of town. Stop into one of the bars for a glass of the dry white spumante (sparking wine) which is the area’s specialty. The little La Taverna del Duca (Via Papadotero 3) specializing in the region’s ‘slow food’ looks like a fabulous restaurant for lunch or dinner.
The BEST treat was visiting Cantina del Locorotondo, the local winery, and meeting Oronzo Mastro. Just outside town we stopped into this huge place built with local white stone so it fits in with the trulli around it. When we first arrived we saw a tour bus out front but no big groups were in site when we entered. We met Mariella, who speaks a little English (much better than our Italian :) ), and offered to lead us through a tasting of their white wines. The winery is owned by a cooperative of 700 farmers who produce 18 wines, 3 sparkling wines and one grappa, one million bottles per year in total. The Cantina Sociale of Locortondo was formed by a group of farmers back in 1930, the first of its kind in Puglia, to promote their wines. Their great work was rewarded in 1969 when Locorotonda was made a DOC.
Oronzo appeared shortly into our tasting with a group of Italians he had toured through their modern wine making facilities. To our great treat, he invited us to join them for a tasting of the Cantina’s wines… we had the pleasure of tasting ten! Their offerings range from the local specialty spumante to the local whites to reds made from the famous Puglian Primitivo. We brought home three of our favorites which I’ll share tasting notes on with you as I open them. Unfortunately their great wines aren’t really available in the U.S….yet!