Cacc’e Mmitte di Lucera (KAH cheh MMEE-teh dee loo CHEH rah). That is indeed the right spelling, and too bad too, if you believe that hidden wine regions with a cool array of grapes in the fields should gain some notoriety. If however you’re inclined to believe that such places remain interesting just up until the time that they’re “discovered”, and the money vultures find places to roost, then you’re tickled rose`…I go back and forth. You? But no matter my latest inclination, I always find a reason to at least not deprive myself and those at the table with such fascinating curiosities…my small concession to the personal responsibility crowd…
So Cacc’e Mmitte – WTF? Apparently, the name is a rendering of an expression from the Italian dialect in and near the northern Apulian city of Foggia, close by the growing zone (in and around the town of Lucera), that refers to the act of filling wine vessels directly from the cask, downing them, and re-filling straight away. NOW “Cacc’e Mmitte di Lucera” makes a LOT more sense, right?
So I ask you – who could be irresponsible enough not to at least try to get behind a wine from the absolutely unheard of Daunia region, where the wines must be made from a pretty tweaked blend of 35%-50% Nero di Troia, 25%-35% Montepulciano and/or Sangiovese and/or Malvasia Nera di Brindisi, with the final 15%-30% Trebbiano Toscano and/or Bombino Bianco and/or Malvasia Bianca Lunga? How can you possibly hate on a wine that is always dry and red, but MUST contain AT LEAST 15% white grape juice (the Trebbiano, Bombino, and Malvasia Bianca)? If you don’t drink these very cool wines, that means either more bottles for good guys like me, jerks discover them, and they go up 300%, or nobody drinks them, and they all go out of business. Have you no heart? Do the right thing…
Like the neighboring, and similarly composed Castel del Monte zone, Cacc’e Mmitte’s “hook” if you will, is the Nera di Troia (also called Uva di Troia) grape – plush, elegant, and with a very charming aromatically floral component on the nose. The Sangiovese and Montepulciano I suspect is used for “ballast” for the often effusive Nero di Troia. The mandate for the white grapes? Not sure, especially this particular group – Trebbiano Toscano is easy to grow, and yields high, but is pretty innocuous, though it never fails to bring some crisp acidity to the mix. Bombino Bianco is a rare-ish southeastern Italian white grape variety that is also olfactorily forward – bordering on a Muscat-y perfume – and is also noted for its pointy acids. Malvasia Bianca splits the proverbial difference between the fist two – it is aromatic, but often comes up a bit flabby.
Unless memory fails me, Alberto Longo’s blend of choice is 50% Nero di Troia, 35% Montepulciano, and 15% Bombino Bianco – a blend that to me really best showcases the most local as well as interesting grape varieties…I served this VERY cool wine with a pasta done in the “orecchiette (“little ears”) con cima rape” (greens, lots of garlic, red pepper flakes, anchovies and breadcrumbs) style, but instead of using the broccoli rabe, I used some very hard to find black kale (also called “Tuscan cabbage” and/or “Lacinto”) that I scored from the organic stall at the Hoboken Farmer’s Market – and picked post-frost to boot, so they were that much more tender and sweet…The main course was a simple cluster of caper-stuffed pork meatballs in an even simpler reduced white wine sauce with a dish of smothered peppers, onions and tomatoes on the side. The photos and the notos:
Almost translucent slightly browned garnet color. Very intruiging nose of dark flowers, saddle leather, tree sap, and blackberries. The palate is soft and elegant with a relaxed, sophisticated, and sweet fruit laced with cardamom, cinnamon ,and coriander. Great cohesion and correspondence between aroma and flavor with perfectly evolved tannins. As elegant as any great Brunello or Barolo, but with a wholly different exotic and rustic charm.