Puglia or Apulia as we would say in English is a beautiful part of Italy. This long region is among the top wine producing regions in Italy. A large part of the wines are made with indigenous varieties such as Primitivo and Negroamaro, two red grapes that many people know and have tasted in various iterations. They are by no means the only indigenous varieties from the region however.
I have been lucky enough to visit Puglia twice, once on a long vacation and the other on a short wine oriented trip post Vinitaly. Each time I visited the Salento. The photo above was taken in Lecce, a gorgeous city during the day and at night with its warm blond stones. I love Lecce and highly recommend visiting, even if your main focus is wine and food or a beach vacation – Lecce and Otranto, both in the Salento are must visit towns.
The title of this piece is Puglia- A Land of Abundance because it has such a wealth of amazing wines and foods. Here are the four DOCGss: Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale, Castel del Monte Bombino Nero, Castel del Monte Nero di Troia Riserva, and Castel del Monte Rosso Riserva. The DOPS include Aleatico di Puglia, Alezio, Barletta, Brindisi, Cacc’e mmitte di Lucera, Castel del Monte, Cerignola, Colline Joniche Tarantine, Copertino, Galatina, Gioia del Colle, Gravina, Leverano, Lizzano, Locorotondo, Martina or Martina Franca, Matino, Moscato di Trani, Nardò, Negroamaro di Terra d’Otranto, Orta Nova, Ostuni, Primitivo di Manduria, , Salice Salentino, San Severo, Squinzano, Tavoliere delle Puglie or Tavoliere, Terra d’Otranto. Puglia also has six IGT appellations, Daunia, Murgia, Puglia, Salento, Tarantino, and Valle d’Itria.
There are so many indigenous varieties that one could try a different grape from Puglia every day for a few months but I am just going to mention some of the most popular. Nero di Troia which is the topic of some of this month’s discussion is of particular interest. It’s also called Uva di Troia and is apparently the third most important of Puglia’s native black grape vines after Negroamaro and Primitivo. I didn’t know that. Apparently Foggia is the place where it is most widely seen. I always joke with my friends from Puglia that Puglia is empty because so many people from Puglia live in other cities around Italy. All of my first friends in Florence were from Puglia in fact. Even when I first moved to Milan, I would say half the people I met were originally from Puglia. The origins of this grape are not certain but it is thought to have come to Italy through the Adriatic. According to the Wines from Puglia website, it “may have originated from the Albanian city of Cruja, locally translated as “Troy”. I don’t think I have ever had a monovarietal Nero di Troia but that seems to be the direction some producers are going in. Nero di Troia is often blended with other indigenous varieties. It is a later ripening grape that the other two main varieties in Puglia.
A couple of my favorite names to pronounce are also grown in Puglia – ottavianello and susumaniello. Many other grape varieties from other parts of Italy are also grown in Puglia as are international grape varieties such as Montepulciano which is often blended with Nero di Troia.
The region is so long and there are numerous micro-climates and terroirs that it is difficult to generalize about what the wines taste like. What one does often find is that wines from the Northern part of the region that grow on the hills tend to have nice acidity while the reds from the South are fruit driven and tend to be high in alcohol. The Salento also makes fantastic roses’, often from Negroamaro, a grape that I think makes very elegant wines. In the past, Puglia has been a region of volume wines but the great work that many producers have been doing these last 15 years really shows across the board in all of their wines.
As this is a post about wines, I won’t wax poetic about the beaches and the water but Puglia does have some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen and some of the best food. I was in Puglia for two weeks on holiday and gained 3 kilos or 6.6 pounds – seriously. I was visiting friends for a few days in Adria and their parents – more precisely their moms – were trying to feed me every single item they could including all of the amazing cheeses from Adria – home of the Burrata. The other part of the vacation I was away with three friends. We ran into a family that one of them sort of knew and everyday we were invited to dinner. It was quite something. I’ve actually never met more hospitable people in my life.
I loved Puglia and can’t wait to go back. It is also a stunning place to vacation for the sea. It felt like I was swimming in an emerald, the water was so green.
I’m really looking forward to the chat tomorrow about Puglia and reading what my fellow bloggers have to say about this amazing region.
On Saturday, January 6, at 11 am ET / 17.00 CEST the Italian Food, Wine, and Travel group explores Puglia in the #ItalianFWT chat on Twitter. All those of you who are interested in wine, food, and travel in Italy and Puglia are very welcome to participate in the chat on Saturday. It is always great to have new fellow Italian wine and food enthusiasts to join and add new perspectives to the discussion. Join us on Twitter on Saturday by typing in the hashtag #ItalianFWT in the search field and click Enter, thereafter, you click Latest which will show you all the live tweets. In that way, you can take part in the live discussion. After the chat, you can also head over to read and comment on the article writers’ blog posts. It’s always nice to get feedback on the articles. This first theme of 2018 will surely be exciting and fun. See you tomorrow, Saturday, January 6!
Here are some of the articles bloggers will be sharing:
Tracy at The Traveling Somm will talk about A Taste of Puglia with “Little Ear” Pasta and Affordable Wine.
Wendy Klik at A Day in the Life on the Farm gives us a wine and food pairing tip with Primitivo and Pasta from Puglia.
Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares Orecchiette e Tormaresca Neprica.
Lauren at The Swirling Dervish shares Traveling to Puglia via South Florida: My Adopted Italian Grandparents.
Jill at L’Occasion shares Vineyards of Puglia.
and me, Susannah at Avvinare with Puglia – A Land of Abundance.
Our host Katarina, at Grapevine Adventures will share the article Let’s Talk Nero di Troia and Primitivo in Puglia.