Duca Carlo Guarini is an estate in the southern half of Puglia, about half way between Lecce and Santa Maria di Leuca. They make a number of wines, primarily from autochthonous varietals, and though they do use some oak much of their production is in steel, and to be frank doesn't miss the oak at all.
In addition to wine, the estate makes all sorts of foodstuffs, from olives in brine though artichokes and more, which makes a visit -- it's quite pretty -- doubly interesting.
Duca Carlo Guarini Burdì Bianco Salento IGT 2010 Lot BB1 2011 (the first bottling of 2011) This is a Bombino Bianco, and is brassy white with some greenish reflections. the bouquet is fresh and quite savory, with bright minerality and some greenish accents as well. Pleasant and refreshing, and impressive for a just bottled wine. On the palate it's light, and fresh, with lively mineral laced lemony fruit supported by deft mineral acidity and flows into a clean fairly crisp citrus laced finish with underlying savory accents that provide depth and continue at length. Quite pleasant in a light simple key, the sort of wine one can drink by the bucket with no ill effects, and that will go well with all sorts of summer things. Expect it to go quickly and you will want more. 2 stars
Duca Carlo Guarini Murà Sauvignon Salento IGT 2010 Lot M 1 2011 Beassy yellow with bright slightly greenish highlights and white rim. The bouquet is pleasant, with classic sauvignon aromas, though not as wild as some; it revolves more around gooseberry and lemon than the more animal notes sauvignon can reveal. Fresh, and still developing, but pleasant. On the palate it's bright, with rich lemony fruit supported by greenish vegetal accents and tannins that have hints 9of artichoke greenness to them, and flow into a long warm sour lemon finish. It's pleasant in a vigorous key, and will drink well with grilled fish, including more flavorful fish such as salmon, and also be a nice accompaniment to fried fish and vegetables during the summer months. 2 stars
Duca Carlo Guarini Campodimare Salento IGT 2010 Lot CP2 2011 This is an organic wine --not the only one they make -- and by 2013 all of their wines will be certified organic. It's pale salmony rose with brilliant pink reflections. the bouquet is fresh, with mineral laced raspberry fruit supported by heather and savory accents. Fresh. On the palate it's bright, with fresh raspberry fruit supported by clean sour berry fruit acidity and warmth, and by intense savory minerality that gradually emerges in the finish. Quite fresh, and peasant, and will drink nicely with picnic foods in the summer, or light dishes. Versatile and will go quickly. 2 stars
Duca Carlo Guarini Nativo Salento IGT 2009 Lot NB 1 2011 This is a Negroamaro in purezza, and is certified organic. It's deep ruby with black reflections and almandine in the rim. The bouquet is intense and still coming together -- it was recently bottled -- with berry fruit supported by leather, and needs time; as it opens dusky berry fruit emerges supported by some vegetal notes and balsamic accents. On the palate it's fresh, with bright cherry fruit supported by deft acidity and by tannins that are slightly splintery, and have some coffee ground bitterness to them, and it all flows into a berry fruit laced finish with some vegetable underpinning. The palate is well ahead of the nose and pleasant; it needs a few months for the nose to catch up, and will be quite pleasant with simple grilled meats or light stews, and also could be pressed into service with fried meats and vegetables. Expect it to go quickly. 88-90
Duca Carlo Guarini Malìa Salento IGT 2008 Lot MA 1 2011 This is Malvasia Nera; it's elegant almandine cherry ruby with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is powerful, with rich slightly vegetal laced jammy red berry fruit supported by spice and some alcohol and pleasant underlying herbal notes. Impressive for a wine just bottled. On the palate it's bright, with lively sour cherry fruit supported by distinctive savory accents and a pleasant mineral underpinning that carries into a long savory finish with some peppery accents. It needs another few months, but will be quite pleasant and work well with either meats or with rich legume-based dishes, along the lines of fava bean puree with chicory. 2 stars
Duca Carlo Guarini Pìutri Negroamaro Salento IGT 2008 Lot P1 2011 This is in part barriqued, for about 8 months, while the remainder aged in steel. It's deep cherry ruby with black reflections and has a fairly rich bouquet with berry fruit supported by greenish leather accents and some cedar, and also by some vegetal notes. On the palate it's bright, with lively sour cherry fruit supported by fairly brisk acidity, and by tannins that are nicely polished, and smooth, and display a slight cedary overlay that wasn't present in the non-oaked wines, flowing into a fairly long rather tart berry fruit finish with a cedar and coffee ground underpinning. It's quite elegant and also quite approachable, with the brightness of Negroamaro's acidity smoothed but not hidden by the oak. Enjoyable, and will work very well with grilled meats or roasts. A nice introduction to Negoramaro if you are new to the varietal. 88-90
Duca Carlo Guarini Vigne Vecchie Salento IGT 2008 Lot VV1 2011 This is a Primitivo; it's deep slightly almandine ruby with white rim. The bouquet is moderately rich with berry fruit mingled with orange peel and some spice, supported by a fair amount of alcohol. It's still coming together. On the palate it's ample and rich, with powerful plum fruit supported by savory tannins that have a slight burr and flow into a clean warm plum finish with savory tannic underpinning and lasting tannic warmth. It's quick to write and the wine is very young, but it's pleasant and shows considerable promise; it needs a few months to get its bearings, and will then drink nicely with rich stews. 2 stars
Duca Carlo Guarini Boemondo Salento IGT 2007 Lot bo 1 2011 This is Primitivo; it's made with about 30% dried grapes, and spends a couple of years in tonneaux. It's inky pyrope with black cherry rim. The bouquet is elegant, with rich prune plum fruit supported by some cedar and hints of scndalwood, and by some sweetness as well. On the palate it's full and rich, with warm sweet prune fruit supported by sandalwood laced tannins and rune acidity with underlying warmth that flows into a long warm prune laced finish. Quite elegant, and very pleasant; it's a wine that still coming together but already displays considerable depth and complexity, and is a wine you should think about if you like Primitivo. In addition to the standard roasts and stews, it will also work well with aged cheeses thans to the sweetness that derives from the dried grapes. Very pleasant. 90-92
Duca Carlo Guarini Ambra Passito Bianco Salento IGT 2009 Lot not on label (bottled for Vinitaly) This is a Sauvignon. It's brassy gold with brilliant brassy reflections. the bouquet is powerful, and sweet, with some gooseberry accents and some dried white fruit, supported by quite a bit of sugar. On the palate it's rich, with powerful dried apricot fruit supported by dried apricot acidity and sweetness, which confers a rich languor to it, while there are some spicy mineral accents that gradually emerge in the finish, which is warm and very long. Quite elegant and with considerable depth, while the richness of the fruit and the sweetness are balanced well by acidity, which keeps the wine from being cloying. 90-91
Duca Carlo Guarini Rarum Passito Salento IGT 2008 Lot 1p 11 This is a blend of Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera fermented in steel (as was Ambra); it's deep pyrope with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is powerful and elegant, with sweet prune fruit supported by bitter chocolate of the Modicana sort and pleasant spice, also some vegetal notes and some alcohol, and some dark brown sugar. Quite a bit going on. On the palate it's ample, rich, and sweet, with full bright berry fruit supported by dusky brown sugar sweetness that confers a certain languir, while there is also deft warmth and the tannins are smooth and again cocoa laced, flowing into a long smooth finish. Very pleasant and though it needs another year to come together fully is a wine that you should definitiolay look for if you like passiti; it's very different in terms of flavor registry from the classic north Italian passito (i.e. Recioto), and well worth seeking out. 92
NO STAR goes to wines that are correctly made but nothing to get excited about.
ONE STAR goes to wines that are good. TWO STARS go to wines that are very good to excellent. THREE STARS and a POINT SCORE (90-100) go to wines that are superb to extraordinary. And I will give pairing suggestions, which I consider much more important than the scores.