Puglia or Apulia is the eastern area of Italy on the historical peninsula bordered by the Adriatic and Ionian peninsulae. The region is 19,469 square miles, with a population of around 4 million people. This is the longest coastline in Italy. The climate is typically the Mediterranean, with occasional winter snowfall. In summer it is hot and dry with the temperature sometimes reaching 40 Degrees Centigrade. The economy of the area includes a flourishing agricultural sector in the highly fertile soils and it is famous for olive oil, and the wine industry. The Puglia wine is well known throughout the EU (European Union).
The majority of wines from the Puglia region are red, from an amazing grape called Primitivo, derived from the Latin word Primativus, meaning the variety that opens earliest. This is hardly surprising down in the boot of Italy where the weather is warmer. The harvest takes place in August and includes a second variety called Primativo Negroamaro, another grape variety. The two varieties are native to the region and are mainly cultivated in the south. There are at least 12 varieties of wine in the area. The Puglia wine region is divided into 5 areas that are all different wine districts. The areas are: High Murgia, Lower Murgia, itria Valley. Messapia and Salento. The Salento peninsula in the Province of Taranto is known for the best
Primitivo wines, with a spicy aroma of cloves, pepper, and berries.
Wineries in the Puglia Region
During the last few decades, Puglia has fine-tuned their wine production, making a shift from quantity to quality production. There is now an organic wine producer called Agricola Ladogana located at the Passo d’Orta. A few suburbs away you will find Borgo Turrito located in Borgo
Incoronata a few kms from Foggia. Here you will find award-winning wines paired with local foods. Due to the wine-making rules in Italy, the red wine must consist of 90% Negroamaro grapes, and the name of the variety translates to ‘black bittersweet’ however, once it reaches the glass it is not bitter, but more like ripe sweet plums. This red wine is excellent served with Pizza or Pasta dishes.
While in the Puglia region visit Lecce, the city contains many Baroque buildings and artworks. It is an ideal place for a gourmet holiday where you
will get to sample more Puglia wine. Some of the other grape varieties from the Puglia Region are:
Red Grape Varieties
- Bombino Nero
- Uva di Troia
White Grape Varieties
- Bombino Bianco
- Moscato de Trani
Strong Primitivo with excellent flavor is produced in the central and northern parts of the Puglia region. The variety Nero di Troia is found here.
Tourism in the Apulian Region
People are attracted to the seaside areas of the region. In summer the area gets extremely hot. The hilly area of Itria Valley has ancient Trulli cottages designed to keep the heat out, and above the area are the dense forests of Umbria 400 hectares of Nationa Parklands, for biking, hiking, and cycling. In this region, you will find a diverse range of wine and wineries.
The Negroamaro grape is grown in Apulia, mainly in Salento, this makes it very local, (in the heel of Italy) it is unique and worth trying, especially the wine. The unusual earthiness gives a rustic flavor to the wine. The grapes are used exclusively for winemaking, and are normally red or rose in color. In Italy wine is produced in almost all regions, and every region is unique Puglia wine is very sought after because of its individual flavor.
Italians consume 42 liters each of wine per year, ranking them 5th in world wine consumption. Before Roman times the Greeks and Etruscans produced wine in Italy using different storage techniques. Grapevines and olive trees prefer almost identical soil and growing conditions, and you will usually find them placed together.
In ancient Roman times, slave-run plantations began to spring up along many of the Italian coastal areas. Trade was extensive with wine exchanged for more slaves. The people of Gaul wanted more and more of the wine, as they drank it instead of water. So Italy was the first country to grow wine, and then it spread to France, Spain, and Germany. In fact, according to recent figures, Italy is the world’s largest wine producer. With
Australia vying for the top spot.
Appellation Puglia Wine
Since the 1960s the naming and classifying of wines have occurred in several different formats. The most recent classification that took place in 2010 named four categories consistent with the latest EU wine regulations. The categories are as follows:
- Vini, or generic wines. These have no geographical area, varieties, or vintage. The label only reports color.
- Vini Varietaii, generic wines made of at least 85% of one international grape variety. Vintage may be indicated on the label.
- Vini IGP, wines with a protected Geographical Indication, within Italy, following precise regulations, physical characteristics, and labeling instructions.
- Vini DOP, Wines with Protected Designation of Origen, the wine must have been termed GP wines for at least 5 years. The wine must also demonstrate superior commercial success. At present, there are only 405 DOPs
Other subcategories exist, but these are the main ones. Others are the Frizzante or Spumante type of sparkling wine.
Classico is a wine produced by a given historical area of protected territory. Another one called Superiore is a wine of at least 0.5 % more alcoholic volume, using a smaller amount of grapes to achieve this. Riserva is wine aged for a minimum period of time.
The Italian Agricultural Department regularly updates the official classifications and publishes results.
Care is taken to ensure changes to regulations do not correspond to lower quality of the IGP wines, and often they are higher quality. The French have a classification system that is different from Italy. It appears that the Italian winemakers are always striving to achieve higher levels of excellence. In 2007 Barbaresco Consorzio introduced the Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive, a means of adding additional geographic merits.
Creating some subzones, and 65 subzone vineyard areas were identified.
Because of the diversity in the climatic zones of Italy wine growing can occur from the Alps down to almost, Africa.
Italian Wine Regions
There are 20 wine regions in Italy and the wine tends to reflect the local cuisine. Puglia wine goes with the Provolone and Mazzarella cheese of the area, pasta dishes, and Beef Salami.
Until the year 1130 Apulia was an autonomous country. After 1282. the Duke of Apulia became the king of Sicily, and the kingdom lost the island of Sicily. Apulia remained part of the kingdom of Naples. Itlay was not unified for many years until 1861. At one time the coast of Apulia was occupied by the Turkish, and at other times by Venetians and then in 1861, it became part of Italy.
Winegrowing and making in Italy are important both culturally and for employment reasons and Apulia’s economy is thriving. with various manufacturing businesses based in the area.
Bari is the capital of Puglia, and you can fly into Bari airport, hire a car and travel around the area, to visit the wineries. Take a look at the town of Monopoli, a city that has been occupied since 500BC, and was originally named by the Greeks. This is a great place to stay for your vineyard tour
with plenty of places to visit.
Why Puglia Wine is Special
Over recent years the Puglia wine has been noticed on the world stage for its fruity vibrant flavors that typify summer in Italy. They are unique in flavor and are now popular in most countries of the world including the USA and Australia. Everyone wants to try them, as they are not a heavy wine, but because of the unique grape, they match beautifully with all Italian foods. A kind of light red, a bit like pinot, but tasting a lot fruitier.
When you go to wine tastings you will immediately notice that they have an underlying note of ripe fruit on the palette, and you will want to try more of the wines in this distinctive region of Italy. A lot of the flavor is due to the rich alluvial soil that the grape is grown in, and once the August harvest is complete, the wine-making process commences. The locals will tell you that every harvest varies slightly, and as with everything there are excellent years and okay years. Thanks to irrigation there are no longer bad years for grapes as every harvest has the potential to be good.
When you enjoy your light fruity red wine Puglia wine is an obvious choice. The grapes are now being trialed in other countries, including Australia, and time will judge how they turn out. The Primitivo grape seems to be special, in delivering so much promise to the dedicated wine drinker and leaving everyone wanting more.