Puglia (Apulia in English) is one of Italy’s 20 administrative regions. The cultivation of grapes in Apulia dates back to around 2000 BC and it preceded the arrival of Phoenician merchants. Horace wrote indicating how the wine of Taranto “have nothing to envy the Falernian grapes” and in those days the Falerno was the most important wine of all. The first DOC was in 1968 (San Severo), followed in 1969 by Locorotondo and Martina Franca.
Production: Apulia produces about a third of the total of Italian wine, and has a terrific vineyard area (about 110,000 hectares), of which the vast majority is located in the plains.
Terroir: Puglia is divided into the Daunia, Murge, and Salento areas, plus the Bassa Murgia and Itria valley. The territory is 2% mountainous, 45% hilly and the remaining 53% flat. The Tavoliere’s soils (Tavoliere is the name of Apulia’s plain) are made up of alluvial clay and sand. The farmlands are limestone or sand-rich; some of the latter can be rich in iron, as shown by the dark red colour of the surface. Rivers are of little relevance because of the terrain and the general lack of rain. The climate is typically Mediterranean. Rainfall is limited and almost exclusively during the winter.
North to south, the province of Foggia in the area known as Daunia is home to the wines of San Severo DOC and Cerignola DOC. Around Bari is the area of Castel del Monte, with three DOCG wines: Castel del Monte Bombino Nero DOCG, Castel del Monte Nero di Troia Riserva DOCG and Castel del Monte Rosso Riserva DOCG. In this area there are also Aglianico and the most popular international varieties. Further South near Bari the Gravina DOC, Martina or Martina Franca DOC, and Locorotondo DOC are known for delicate floral white wines produced with blends of the following grapes: Verdeca (Gravina), Bianco d’Alessano (Martina Franca) and Malvasia Bianca or Malvasia Bianca Lunga (Locorotondo). Further down in the Salento peninsula, in addition to the main grape variety Negroamaro and Primitivo, there is also the Malvasia Nera (two varieties). These grapes characterize the local DOC wines, among which are Primitivo di Manduria DOC (and the recent DOCG Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale) and the wines of the DOC Salice Salentino, known in Italy and abroad. Especially noteworthy are the two sweet wines produced in the area: Moscato di Trani, from Moscato Bianco grapes, and Aleatico di Puglia made mainly from Aleatico with small additions of Primitivo, Negroamaro, and Malvasia Nera.
Grape varieties: In 2010 almost 40% of Puglia’s vines were native varieties (Dr Ian d’Agata 2014, p.44). Aleatico (r). | Bianco d’Alessano (w). | Bombino Bianco (w). | Bombino Nero (r). | Fiano (w). | Malvasia Bianca (w). | Malvasia Nera di Brindisi (r). | Malvasia Nera di Lecce (r). | Marchione (w). | Minutolo (w). | Negro Amaro (r). | Negro Amaro Precoce (r). | Ottavianello (r). | Pampanuto (w). | Primitivo [Zinfandel] (r). | Somarello Rosso (r).| Susumaniello (r). | Uva di Troia (r). | Verdeca (w).
DOC (28): Aleatico di Puglia DOC. | Alezio DOC. | Barletta DOC. | Brindisi DOC. | Cacc’è mmitte di Lucera DOC. | Castel del Monte DOC. | Cerignola or Rosso di DOC. | Colline Joniche Tarantine DOC. | Copertino DOC. | Galatina DOC. | Gioia del Colle DOC. | Gravina DOC. | Leverano DOC. | Lizzano DOC. | Locorotondo DOC. | Martina or Martina Franca DOC. | Matino DOC. | Moscato di Trani DOC. | Nardò DOC. | Negroamaro di Terra d’Otranto DOC. | Orta Nova or Ortanova DOC. | Ostuni DOC. | Primitivo di Manduria DOC. | Rosso di Cerignola DOC. | Salice Salentino DOC. | San Severo DOC. | Squinzano DOC. | Tavoliere delle Puglia or Tavoliere DOC. | Terra d’Otranto DOC.
Source: Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p.546.