Puglian Wines

Puglia stretches for more than 250 miles to form the heel of the Italian peninsula and its long hot summers create ideal conditions for nurturing the native grapes the three main red indigenous varieties being  Negroamaro, Primitivo and Nero di Troia.

Negroamaro (literally "black bitter') is the region's most widely planted variety. It is found primarily in the Salento zone and is used extensively in the production of Puglia's full-bodied and robust Salice Salentino wine.

Primitivo is another widely-planted variety found primarily in the Salento zone and west-central Puglia. Genetically related to Zinfandel found in California, Primitivo is the basis for what is arguably Puglia's best category of red wine, the Primitivo di Manduria from the Salento zone. Primitivo wines produced further north in the Gioia del Colle area are more subtle than those from the Salento zone.

Nero di Troia (also known as Uva di Troia) is grown primarily in central and northern areas of Puglia. This variety can produce elegant wines with floral aromas and firm structure but can be high in tannins. However technological advances have controlled the level of tannins so that it is now gaining increased recognition as a premium wine grape.

Susumaniello is a little-known red-wine grape from grown almost exclusively in the Salice Salentino area, and in a growing number of vineyards around Brindisi, and ranks among the world's rarest wine grapes. The grapes are used to make both red and rosé wines - sometimes vinified alone but more often blended with Negroamaro. The classic red Susumaniello wine has a deep ruby hue and aromas of red berries and plums. Richer, more concentrated examples show spicy, peppery aromas and flavors of dark chocolate.

While it is the red wines from Puglia that receive the most attention, Puglia also produces some pleasant dry, crisp white wines. Whites made from local varieties such as Verdeca, Bombino Bianco and Greco Bianco are the most common although white wines made from Chardonnay are gaining in popularity.

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