Location: San Marzano, Province of Salento, Puglia, Italy.
Salento is the southernmost portion of Puglia and Italy's easternmost area: a land of extremes and dramatic beauty, stretching out between two seas. Lush, dark red soil bathed in Mediterranean sunlight; historic native varieties and superb old vineyards, constantly windswept by the salty air currents of the Adriatic and the Ionian seas. The peninsula's amazing palette of colors and sensations endows salentino wines with a layered depth unique to the region. Needless to say, this new frontier of unexplored treasures is just after the Empsons' own heart.
Neil, Maria, and Tara Empson had long been looking for the right terroir in the area, when they discovered — with friend Valentino Sciotti — some of its finest and oldest vineyards. After tasting the silky, seductive, structured gems crafted by Filippo Baccalaro (third-generation enologist from a famous winemaking family), they set about finalizing the Matané project. A joint venture was decided between the Empsons, Valentino and Filippo, and the project was named after Maria, Tara and Neil.
When Neil and Maria began pioneering Italy's fine wine exports, the Italian potential had barely been recognized, much less explored. Today, something very like that is true of Apulia's treasure trove of varietals and blends, both all-indigenous and native/international.
The Matané mission consists in exploring, enhancing and exporting the richness and excellence of Salento viniculture in the original Empson spirit. The Matané packaging correspondingly pays homage to Salento and depicts one of its symbols, a traditional local dance called pizzica. In ancient times, the pizzica was a ritual dance connected to Dionysus (a.k.a. Bacchus), the god of wine: a heritage from neighboring Greece and its settlers in Apulia.