When we first researched Puglia, we were surprised to hear how much wine it produces... fully 18% of all Italian wines come from the heel of Italy. There are even 25 DOCs (protected varieties). Sure, everyone hears about the famous wines of Italy--Chianti, Valpolicella, Barolo, Brunello, and the bubbly Prosecco. But there is more the Italy than just the expected. With Italy you always learn something new around every corner...
Because of the warm weather, the breezes from the Adriatic Sea and the flat plains and plateaus, the minerals in the soils, wine is at home here, having been grown in the soils of Puglia for thousands of years. And one distinct advantage of picking a wine from Puglia is that the weather--especially sunshine--is much more reliable than other wine regions of Italy, so there is rarely a "bad vintage".
One wine that has become our favorite go-to Pugliese wine is Primitivo, easily found in the States. It's full bodied, has nutty flavors and fairly smooth going down with pizza or pasta or meat entrées. The Primitivo grape variety is genetically similar to Zinfandel, but both are said to be clones of a grape variety from Croatia. This shows the varied history of Italy. There are influences from many areas of the ancient world. In the last 20 years, Primitavo wines have been getting better and better.
Other wine varieties to look for from Puglia are:
So, the next time you go into a wine shop, try a bit of Puglia... have a bottle with pizza or pasta and think of the warm sun and smiling faces of the South....
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