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The Remarkable Wines of Apulia at Vino 2010

The Remarkable Wines of Apulia at Vino 2010

Charles Scicolone (February 11, 2010)
Tom Hyland
Charles Scicolone-Moderator of the Panel "The Remarkable Wines of Apulia at Vino 2010

Tasting the Wines of Apulia with the Producers


I was in Venice when my cell phone rang. It was Ronn Wiegand on behalf of the Italian Trade Commission, Buon Italia and the Region of Puglia, inviting me to moderate a panel entitled The Remarkable Wines of Apulia. The panel would be made up of 13 producers from Puglia and they would each present one wine.

All of the wines would be made from three of Apulia’s native grapes: Uvia di Troia, Negroamaro, and Primitivo.



My first visit to Puglia was in 1983 and I have been back a number of times and visited some of these producers. When I was the wine director of a restaurant that specialized in Apulia wine and food, I often went to Vinitaly- the biggest wine fair in the world- and visited many producers from Apuglia.  Because I have been drinking wines from Apulia since my first visit, I was looking forward to moderating this event.


I organized the tasting by grape variety. There were five wines made from Uva di Troia (also known as Nero di Troia), three wines made from Negroamaro (literally black-bitter) and five wines made from Primitivo (early ripening). 10 of the 13 producers showed up for the tasting. Within each group they were arranged by how the grapes were vinified, e.g. those in stainless steel would be first followed by the ones aged in large barrels, and lastly those aged in barriques.  There was one Negroamaro and one Primitivo made from grapes dried for a short period of time. The producers called it a “light appassimento”.   


The first wine was Canosa Rosso 2004 D.O.C. from Cantina Diomede. The production zone is Canosa di Puglia. It is 65% Uva di Troia and 35% Montepulciano. This was the only wine which was not “pure”.  This wine is aged in barriques for 12 months and had aromas and flavors of red fruit with a good integration of the wine and the wood. 

It is very common in Apulia to combine Negroamaro and Uvia di Troia with Montepulciano. All the other wines at the tasting were 100% Negroamaro or Primitivo. The prices for the wines were given in euros and were Ex-Cellar, the price that the producer would sell it for. The wine above would sell for between $15-20. 



Puglia I.G.T.2006 Villa Schinosa Production zone: Trani.  100% Nero di Troia. The maceration, which takes place in cement vats, lasts between 10-12 days and the wine is aged for 24 months in large French oak barrels (35hl). (When I was there I believe the oak was Slovenian).  This wine had black fruit aromas with hints of violets. On the palate it was full with a hint of spice. $18-20. I visited this winery two years ago and was very impressed with all of their wines and was impressed again when I tasted them at the grand tasting after the panel. The representative from the winery on the panel was Maria Capece Minutolo who was very gracious when I visited the winery.

Castel del Monte D.O.C. “Parco Marano” 2005   Giancarlo Ceci (Agrinatura) Production zone Castel Del Monte. This wine is 100% Uva di Troia and is aged in barriques for 12 months. The wine had red fruit aromas and flavors with hints of cherry and good acidity. The representative from the winery Leonardo D’Allessandro  was very proud that the winery was certified organic  in 1988. Not only for the wine but also for the other agricultural products they grow. There was a Grand Tasting of all the wines at Vino 2010 across town and the bottles from this winery for our tasting were delivered there. Mr. D’Alessandro had to jump in a cab, go across town and back, and managed to return with the wine just as I was about to introduce him. He was a little out of breath but did a great job of speaking about the winery and describing the wine.

Puglia I.G.T. “Cruste” 2006  Agricole Alberto Longo. Production zone Northern Daunia.100% Uva di Troia.   Mr. Longo could not make the panel but I had dinner with him at Keste pizzeria on Monday before the tasting. He has an apartment in Manhattan. There is prolonged skin contact and the wine is aged in barriques for 12 months. There were aromas and flavors of black fruit and hints of blackberry. It had a long finish and persistent aftertaste.  When I tasted the wine  on Monday I realized that it was a big wine and should have been the last of the Uva di Troia wines but it was too late to make any changes.$ 35- 40.



Barletta D.O.C “Priamis” 2007 Cantina Sociale Di Barletta Aziende Agricole Associate. Production zone: Barletta D.O.C. 100% Uva di Troia.   The wine is aged in large oak barrels for 12 months. I did not see a representative from the Cantina Sociale seated on the panel. As soon as I began to introduce the wine the head of the Cantina Sociale came running up with an interpreter and began to speak. He said they use the Tendone method for the grapes. The leaves of the plant are trained so they go above the plant forming a natural canopy that protects the grapes from the sun. This is a very traditional method. This particular wine comes from a very small plot of one of their best grape growers. The better the grapes, the more money the grower is paid. Later when I saw him at the Grand Tasting he told me he was alone and had to set up for the tasting. That was why he came late and left early. He gave me a business card but it did not have his name on it.


Salento I.G.T. “Acuca Rosso” 2006   Azienda Agricola Santi Dinitri Production zone: Galatina (Lecce) 100% Negroamaro.   Maceration on the skins for 5-6 days. The wine is aged in stainless steel and barriques. The wine had red fruit aromas and flavors with a hint of spice. The representative from the winery was Carlo Vallone. He said that his family has been involved in agriculture since the 17th century and wanted to combine this old agriculture heritage with modern techniques. They did not open the winery until 1996. $15-20


Salento I.G.T.”Nero di Velluto” 2006 Feudi Di Guagnano  Production zone: Guagnano. 100% Negroamaro. The representative was Dott.Gianvito Rizzo. The training system is the Alberello (traditional “bush” method) the wine is 100% Negroamaro. Dr Rizzo said that they use the appassimento process ( the grapes are dried for 30 days in single-layered wooden boxes). Fermentation lasts for about two weeks and the wine is aged in barriques for 12 months. The wine had hints of blackberries with a long finish. Dr. Rizzo said for him wine was a labor of love. He, along with four other businessmen, wanted to save the vineyards of Negroamaro that had been abandoned over the years and this is why they established this winery..$30-40.


Salento I.G.T. “Piromafo” 2005  Valle Dell’Asso Production zone Salento- Agro di Galatina. 100% Negroamaro and the grapes are certified organic. Maceration on the skins in stainless steel for 15 days and then aged for 8-12 months in large barrels -50 HL. The wine had good red and dark fruit with a hint of spice. It had nice structure and good acidity. Representing the winery was Steve Bloom President of Tesori Wines. Mr. Bloom said that the estate went back to 1820 but they did not bottle wine until 1995. They use the ancient dry farming method which is a low water technique. It allows the land to breath and reduces the damaging effects of humidity on the grapes and is better for the environment. He went on to say the winery’s focus is on indigenous grapes and traditional methods. $50


Gioia Del Colle D.O.C. “Fatalone “ 2005  Azienda Agricola Pasquale Petrera Production zone Gioia Del Colle 100% Primitivo (organic)  This is a very traditional winery and the wine is aged in very large barrels of 75 HL. The representative from the winery was Pasquale Petrera. Mr. Petrera said that this was a family run farm that dated back to the 18th century but they did not bottle their wine until 1987. They were one of the founders of Consortium of wines of Gioia del Colle DOC. The comment was made that this wine had very good acidity. Mr. Petrera said that this was due to the dry farming methods, the soil and grape selection in the vineyard. $15-20.


 At the Grand Tasting I tasted all the wines from the panel members. They were not “jammy” as some wine writers mistakenly think and had good acidity which makes them very good food wines.


 Salento I.G.T, “Livruni” 2008   Vetrere Production zone: Taranto.  100% Primitivo.

The wine is fermented  and aged in stainless steel tanks. The wine had fresh fruit aromas with  a hint of spice on the palate, and is a very easy drinking wine. The representative from the winery was Uliana Petrucci . In answer to a question on the Italian wine laws: I.G.T vs. D. O. C. Ms Petrucci made some very good points  as to why some producers would want to have the lesser I.G.T. and the importance of the laws. $16


Salento I.G.T “Torcicoda” 2006  100% Primitivo Tormaresca  Production zone: Salento This winery is owned by Piero Antinori of Tuscany. The representative on the panel made it clear that this was an Apulian winery and everyone working there was from Apulia. He was the only one not from Apulia, he was from Campania. Maceration is for 15 days and the wine completes malolatic fermentation in French and Hungarian oak barriques where it is aged for 10 months. The wine has red fruit aromas and flavors with a hint of prune.   $ 15-20


Primitivo di Manduria D.O.C. “Sessantanni” 2006 Feudi di San Marzano Production 100% Primitivo  zone Apulia. The wine was aged in French barriques for 6 months. The wine had aromas and flavors of red fruit with a hint of prune and cherry.

It is a full bodied wine with a long aftertaste.     $60


Primitivo di Manduria D.O.C.2007  Poderi Angelini 100% Primitivo. The grapes undergo a “light appassimento” and the wine is aged eight months in stainless steel and six months in barriques..The wine had aromas and flavors of cherries and raspberries with a hint of dried prunes. The representative from the winery on the panel was Vicenzo Angelini.  Mr Angeline answered a number of questions about the appassimento process. He said that it was a light drying of the grapes (not for that many days) and that it was not a common practice in the area. $25

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