vineyards and trullis, the traditional conical dwellings , Puglia, Italy
Nowhere on earth are natural beauty, food, and wine so intimately entwined as in Italy, and the soaring interest in that delicious trinity finds full flourish in Puglia, where valleys of vineyards, hillsides of olive trees, fields of wheat, and seas teeming with life conspire with ancient traditions to make the region irresistible to gourmets and connoisseurs.
Yet it has become clear in the past decade that Puglia, in the southeastern part of the country (including the “heel” of Italy’s “boot”) is also now in the vanguard of innovation in viticulture, while vigilantly based on historic traditions. Today Puglia produces 32 wines in the DOC appellation and four DOCGs, with new IGT wines coming out all the time.
Varietals like Negroamaro, Bombino Bianco, Gravina, and Primitivo, once unfamiliar in the global wine market, are now celebrated for their distinctiveness, while wines like Salice Salentino, Rosso di Cerignola, and “Five Roses” are found in restaurants and wine stores throughout Europe and the U.S.
Wisely, Puglian producers have also kept their very best wines priced at a level all consumers can afford. Puglia has been able to capitalize on Primitivo as being the same varietal as America’s popular Zinfandel (both originating in Croatia), but instead of wholly commercial styles like sweet “white Zinfandel” or high-alcohol “blockbusters,” Puglian Primitivos are softer, with a fine balance of fruit and acid, easy to drink young with a wide variety of foods.