Puglia wines, wines of puglia, puglia wine, puglia vineyards, regional wines of puglia

Regional wine of Puglia

Puglia is the second largest wine growing region in Italy, after the Veneto, producing over six hundred million litres of wine per year. In total, there are 85,000 hectares of vineyards stretching across the region, now producing 32 DOC wines and 4 DOCG wines.

Puglia wine making can be divided geographically into three areas: Foggia in the north, Bari and Taranto in the middle and Brindisi and Lecce in the south. The 'Nero di Troia' grape is found in the province of Foggia and and down into the northern part of the province of Bari, and produces a number of DOC wines. However, many would consider that the real 'Pugliese' wine can be found in the southern part of the region, below the Brindisi - Taranto line. Whereas the northern part of Puglia uses grapes such as Sangiovese and Montepulciano, which are also found in central and northern Italy, the southern grapes, Negroamaro and Primitivo, create the rich, full-bloodied reds that the region is famous for.

The best of Puglia's Negroamaro wines come from the Salento area, including the Salice Salentino DOC wines. The warm, dry, Mediterranean climate in this area provides near-perfect conditions for the vines to thrive. The rather strange name is sometimes attributed to a description of the taste i.e. dark and bitter, or sometimes related to the area's Ancient Greek influences and a reference to the colour of the grapes.

Primitivo is found in two main areas within Puglia. The first is in the province of Taranto, where the wine 'Primitivo di Manduria' is produced. The other is in the province of Bari, in the hilly area of Gioia del Colle. In total, the vines are grown on 11,000 hectares. The word, 'Primitivo' comes from the Latin 'primativus', meaning 'first to ripen'.

Historically, Puglia has always been associated with red wines, but over the last 10 years, white and rosé wines have been steadily increasing in importance for the region. The white grape varieties include: fiano, verdeca, malvasia bianca, and bombino bianco. The rosé wines tend to be made from Negroamaro or primitivo grapes.

DOCG wines:

Castel del Monte Bombino Nero
Castel del Monte Nero di Troia Riserva
Castel del Monte Rosso Riserva
Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale

DOC wines:

Aleatico di Puglia (All provinces)
Alezio (Lecce)
Barletta (Barletta-Andria-Trani)
Brindisi (Brindisi)
Cacc'e mmitte di Lucera (Foggia)
Castel del Monte (Bari)
Cerignola (Foggia)
Colline Joniche Taratine (Taranto)
Copertino (Lecce)
Galatina (Lecce)
Gioia del Colle (Bari)
Gravina (Bari)
Leverano (Lecce)
Lizzano (Taranto)
Locorotondo (Bari - Brindisi)
Martina (Bari - Brindisi - Taranto)
Matino (Lecce)
Moscato di Trani (Bari - Foggia)
Nardò (Lecce)
Negroamaro di Terra d'Otranto (Lecce)
Orta Nova (Foggia)
Ostuni (Brindisi)
Primitivo di Manduria (Brindisi - Taranto)
Rosso Canosa (Bari)
Salice Salentino (Brindisi - Lecce)
San Severo (Foggia)
Squinzano (Brindisi - Lecce)
Tavoliere delle Puglie (Foggia - Barletta-Andria-Trani)
Terra d'Otranto (Brindisi - Lecce - Taranto)

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Italian Wines
  • Italian Red Grapes
    • Sangiovese

      • The most well known of the Italian grapes and responsible for the famous Tuscan wines. Using tradional techniques, the wines are earthy, full of cherry fruit and cedar. The wines produced include such famous names as: Chianti, Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montepulciano, Montefalco Rosso. The "Super-Tuscans", produced for the international market, blend the Sangiovese grape with Bordeaux varietals such as: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and often used French oak barrels to age.

    • Nebbiolo

      • Translated, the name means: "Little Fog", which refers to the autumn fog common in the region of Piedmont where it is grown. The grape seems to like these conditions but is difficult to cultivate otherwise. It is responsible for the famous wines of Barolo and Barbaresco, both produced in the Cuneo province of Piedmont. Barolo is often kept for more than 50 years, and is considered by many to be the greatest wine produced in Italy.

    • Montepulciano

      • This grape is planted in Abruzzo,and should not be confused with the town of the same name in Tuscany. It produces a wine with silky plum-like fruit, friendly acidity, and light tannin, recent bottles have improved greatly on those in the past.

    • Barbera

      • This grape is the most widely grown in Piedmont and southern Lombardy, particularly around the towns of Asti, Alba and Pavia. Previously, the Barbera wines were considered a poor alternative to Barolo, but recently they have improved dramatically. The wine has bright cherry fruit, a very dark color, and a food-friendly acidity. It is being produced increasingly for the international market.

    • Corvina

      • This is the grape that makes Valpolicella and Amarone, the best known wines of the Veneto. Valpolicella has dark cherry fruit and spice. If the grapes are dried, a process called "passito", they produce a wine called Amarone. Some are aged for more than 40 years and can command extremely high prices. Amarone di Valpolicella was awarded DOCG status in 2009.

    • Nero dAvola

      • A native varietal of Sicily, this grape was virtually unheard of a few years ago. Now, the quality of the wine is improving steadily and it is becoming increasingly popular on the international market for its plummy fruit and sweet tannins.

    • Dolcetto

      • This grape is called "Little Sweet One", because it is easy to grow and produces great wines for everyday drinking. It is grown alongside the Barbera and Nebbiola grapes in Piedmont and produces wine with flavors of concord grape, wild blackberries and herbs.

    • Negroamaro

      • Translated, the name means "Black and Bitter". It is grown extensively in the region of Puglia where it is used to produce the Salento wines: spicy, toasty, and full of dark red fruits.

    • Aglianico

      • Considered by many to be the "Noble Varietal of the south" Aglianico grapes are primarily grown in the regions of Campania and Basilicata. The name is derived from Hellenic, so the grape is considered to be a Greek transplant. Thick skinned and spicy, the wines are often both rustic and powerful.

    • Sagrantino

      • This grape is native to Umbria. It is only planted on 250 hectares, but the wines produced from it are world-renowned. Inky purple, with rustic brooding fruit and heavy tannins, these wines can age for many years.

    • Malvasia Nera

      • Red Malvasia varietal from Piedmont. A sweet and perfumed wine, sometimes elaborated in the passito style.

Other major red varieties are Ciliegolo, Gaglioppo, Lagrein, Lambrusco, Monica, Nerello Mascalese, Pignolo, Primitivo (Zinfandel in California), Refosco, Schiava, Schiopettino, Teroldego, and Uva di Troia. "International" varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc are also widely grown.
  • Italian White Grapes
    • Catarratto

      • This is the most widely planted white varietal in Salaparuta, south western Sicily.

    • Trebbiano

      • This is the most widely planted white varietal in Italy. It is grown throughout the country, with a special focus on the wines from Abruzzo and from Lazio, including Frascati. Mostly, they are pale, easy drinking wines, but trebbiano from producers such as Valentini have been known to age for 15+ years. It is known as Ugni Blanc in France.

    • Moscato

      • Grown mainly in Piedmont, it is mainly used in the slightly-sparkling (frizzante), semi-sweet Moscato d"Asti. Not to be confused with moscato giallo and moscato rosa, two Germanic varietals that are grown in Trentino- Alto-Adige.

    • Nuragus

      • An ancient Phoenician varietal found in southern Sardegna. Light and tart wines that are drunk as an apertif in their homeland.

    • Pinot Grigio

      • A hugely successful commercial grape (known as Pinot Gris in France), its wines are characterized by crispness and cleanness. As a hugely mass-produced wine, it is usually delicate and mild, but in a good producers" hands, the wine can grow more full-bodied and complex. The main problem with the grape is that to satisfy the commercial demand, the grapes are harvested too early every year, leading to wines without character.

    • Tocai Friulano

      • A varietal distantly related to Sauvignon Blanc, it yields the top wine of Friuli, full of peachiness and minerality. Currently, there is a bit of controversy regarding the name, as the EC has demanded it changed to avoid confusion with the Tokay dessert wine from Hungary.

    • Ribolla Gialla

      • A Slovenian grape that now makes its home in Friuli, these wines are decidedly old-world, with aromas of pineapple and mustiness.

    • Arneis

      • A crisp and floral varietal from Piedmont, which has been grown there since the 15th century.

    • Malvasia Bianca

      • Another white varietal that peeks up in all corners of Italy with a wide variety of clones and mutations. Can range from easy quaffers to funky, musty whites.

    • Pigato

      • A heavily acidic varietal from Liguria, the wines are vinified to pair with a cuisine rich in seafood.

    • Fiano
      • Grown on the southwest coast of Italy, the wines from this grape can be described as dewy and herbal, often with notes of pinenut and pesto.
    • Garganega

      • The main grape varietal for wines labeled Soave, this is a crisp, dry white wine from the Veneto wine region of Italy. It"s a very popular wine that hails from northeast Italy around the city of Verona. Currently, there are over 3,500 distinct producers of Soave.

    • Vermentino

      • This is widely planted in northern Sardinia and also found in Tuscan and Ligurian coastal districts. Wines are particularly popular to accompany fish and seafood.

    • Verdicchio

      • This is grown in the areas of Castelli di Jesi and Matelica in the Marche region and gives its name to the varietal white wine made from it. The name comes from "verde" (green). The white wines are noted for their high acidity and a characteristic nutty flavour with a hint of honey.

Other important whites include Carricante, Catarratto, Coda de Volpe, Cortese, Falanghina, Grechetto, Grillo, Inzolia, Picolit, Traminer, Verduzzo, and Vernaccia. As far as non-native varietals, the Italians plant Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer (sometimes called traminer aromatico), Riesling, Petite Arvine, and many others.
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