Another glorious day in Lecce as we took a short hop out to the town of Monteroni di Lecce. The Apollonio winery was our destination and this is yet another estate that has embraced change and the current generation that took over in 1995 has had great success in creating a brand that is almost exclusively exported. The estate is beautifully designed and a great story is told as you wend your way around the barrels and cellar. Primitivo and Negroamaro are the key grapes, as you might expect, and we tasted a truly superb selection of wines culminating in a 1993 Copertino Riserva that was still full of life.
Back to Lecce for a quick lunch and then we headed out to the stunning Castello Monaci for a final tasting and dinner. The Castello oozes history back to the 17th Century with originally French owners. There are three incarnations of winery which provides a fascinating historical back drop and from the rooftops you get an amazing perspective on the 200 hectares of vineyards and olive groves. Hosted by Marco de Lorenzo, we took our seats in the first floor dining room of the private residence of the owners. This was a stunning room that combined a classic, elegant modern Italian style yet retained the sense of history. We tasted a short selection of their Castello Monaci wines before moving on to aperitives, sparkling wine and a fabulous four course dinner. A selection of antipasti, a perfectly cooked stuffed ravioli, succulent beef and trio of desserts – apple tart, fresh strawberries and a melting chocolate soufflé.
A fabulous end to our tour.