A region that is gaining a lot of attention, the region promoted on subway in London and Paris and then attracting a lot of tourists from abroad too; the region of wines more and more appreciated, expression of a specific territory. The region of sea and wind, of bodied red wines and of the rosé ones you do not expect here, the street food and the so-called “fornelli” (butchers that let you choose the pieces and cook them there at the moment).
Well, those who love the Burgundy “clos” (stone walls), have to go and see the ones in Puglia where those stone walls make the charming landscapes, making you forget that you got lost… as often can happen … unfortunately.
Despite the weather which changed my plans, I enjoyed, my stay in this marvelous land based in Bari then touring around, mainly focusing on Murgia area, central Puglia.
Territory and grapes
Murge area is in the north than the better known Salento area, in which its red wines “Primitivo di Manduria” or “Negroamaro” have done the world tour, carring along their origins.
Murge includes sub-areas with different soils and characteristics: from karst soils with clear rocks which give a “lunar” aspect to tufaceous soils.
Murge includes Castel del Monte DOC and DOCG denominations.
The climate is the one typical of hilly areas with good thermal excursions and good level of precipitations; it is more mitigated by going towards the sea.
Among the most famous wines of the area, we can find: the red “Nero di Troia” as well as other indigenous like white or red “Bombino”, “Primitivo Gioia del Colle” and then, on the coast, “white Muscat” from which “Moscato di Trani (DOP)” has produced.
Maybe a sort of fil rouge, which often can help us in identifying a territory is missing; of course any winery has its own style and it’s important to mantain its own standard but sometimes a sort of belonging to the territory is missing.
Food and Wine
In these areas, as often happens all over Italy, we cannot miss to mention the culinary traditions!
Before reaching to Bari (city in central Puglia)by car, I got valid information about local food and tradtions. Well, the raw fish is just wonderful: close your eyes, imagine a fish you like, here -in Puglia- you can have it raw! And then the fried “panzerotti” (a sort of folded pizza-see pic below) filled with broccoli rabe or spicy ricotta cheese; the myriad of “taralli” (a sort of crunchy round bread–see pic). Do not forget the fantastic “orecchiette” (pasta) with broccoli and then, in Bari in particular: rice with potatoes and mussels cooked in oven, every comment is superfluous. I could go on for hours but before I get nostalgic I pen off…
As usual, my reports always include a note related to the communication approach . Communication of the wine, the territory, and the traditions.
The charm of the area plays a crucial role because seduces and relieves any difficulty, enchants and unites you forever. However, I have to be honest and say that on this occasion I had a weak support from some local entities and, moreover, there are not many signs and directions to reach the wineries. Fortunately much is compensated by the courtesy of each producer who, in many cases, is worth the risk of getting lost …!
The character of this land is clear, places and history speak for themselves and it seems that events, institutions and communication efforts are going toward in the right direction. For example, the event-contest “Radici Wines“, that for the past 10 years has involved journalists, buyers and wine experts from around the world to celebrate the wines of southern Italy, I participated and enjoyed a lot.
As usual it’s never easy to choose wineries to visit but, of course, there will be some more opportunities to expand this report.
The name of the winery comes from the dark color of the land on which they work. They believed and worked so hard to recover Primitivo Gioia del Colle, other than the best known Primitivo of Salento area and it’s really interesting. Today, “Primitivo” bottles of theirs are identified with series of numbers, such as 14, 16, 17 and these numbers represent the alcool content! By chance if an error occurs, as often happens, which nowadays makes them easily recognizable thanks to a simple number! “14” vintage 2011 and “17” vintage 2010 are very good wines, both of great pleasure and structure, good balance and complexity, tasting them you never imagine that they hide such alcool contents.
I already knew Ms. Marianna, the owner, but this time we had the opportunity to have a great lunch at Trattoria Pugliese restaurant (in Gioia del Colle town), I greatly appreciated it where we tasted her wines well paired with local food. Marianna and her husband invested in wine for passion, also to create a future for their son but I would like to mention that our “incontro” was inturrupted eternaly by phone calls. Ha.Ha.Haaa and this is the daily life in a winery. The rewarded rosé “Estrosa” is still a good one, this year it’s a little bit darker than usual with a very
nice aroma of raspberry. I also like to underline the frankness of Primitivo Gioia del Colle and the Reserve of Primitivo.
The estate, the company and the holders are all very elegant.
The winery has made a different choice; they work with Aglianico and Cabernet Sauvignon producing two varietal wines (ie, a 100% Aglianico, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon) and a blend called 60 & 40 leaving “unveil” the composition (60 Aglianico and 40 Cabernet). The beauty of these wines ,you can easily recognize them, as they keep the typical character of the vineyard, straight and clean wines.
I imagine here private or business events, as well as a tasting; more in general, in terms of wine tourism, I imagine thousand scenarios. If you do not trust me, see the images on the website.
Certainly one of my favorite tour. The estate is very beautiful, the wines are elegant and very pleasant, one by one! It is a young company where I took the opportunity to sit down and taste the whole line during a rainy morning. It is extremely intriguing their Nero di Troia (from the omonimous typical red grape) but vinified in white (this is possible by avoiding contact with the skins responsible for the coloration of wines). These experiments are often imagined as whimsical, instead, the result would hit you! Good all wines from the ones belonging to the denomination Castel del Monte: Bombino nero (red) and the regular Nero di Troia for example as well as the blend of Nero di Troia and Merlot. Well done!
A large company that provides an extensive line, a full range of course. Thanks to those numbers they can face scale economies and offer a very good value for money. I mean for example their Castel del Monte white made from Bombino and Pampanutowhite grapes or the rosé from the red grape Bombino nero. Many probably remember their “Vigna Pedale” their flagship at an absolutely affordable price if you look at the awards.
They have ancient origins and you can see that as soon as you get there. Moreover a biological management make the picture clear. The wines show their personality for sure. The white made from Fiano offers a nice minerality, it is round and with character. They also produce a good red from Negroamaro, another symbol of the Apulian viticulture, as well as the local Nero di Troia (DOC), finally a good oil with a bitter and spicy touch which make you love it.
What a good company! With a good story behind them the owners have been so kind to tell going back in the day. And when you stand in front of those old bottles with old style labels you literally take a step back imagining those times, those experiments, those difficulties. I really loved this tour and these wines. The wines have their own personality, each with its own recognizable style: I felt a great attention to details and this is what makes the difference, is not it? I am not referring only to “Il Falcone” (Castel del Monte DOC reserve) among the best known with its round taste thanks to the aging in wood. I also mean a classy rosé from Bombino Nero (Castel del Monte DOCG) with a light color and great balance; a super white Bombino white (still DOC) and Nero di Troia (Castel del Monte DOC) that unlike “Il Falcone” mature only in stainless steel: the result is excellent, the note of violet makes you want to drink it again and again.
I apologize for any shortcomings