Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Taste of Puglia

The lovely folks at DiVino Wine Studio invited many of us media, bloggers and wine industry individuals to a recent tasting featuring the wines of Puglia, Italy. It was my first time inside the Chateau Laurier when I wasn't just ducking in to use the facilities halfway through a canal skate, and it was quite a beautiful setting.

Once inside the Laurier Ballroom we were invited to "travel to Puglia" by Sommelier and Food and Wine Lecturer Antonella Millarte, Sommelier Daniele Cirsone and Italian Wine Expert Ian D'Agata; all of whom were hosted by Antonio Mauriello of DiVino Wine Studio.

Antonella and Daniele

Puglia, Italy is located "in the heel of the boot" and is undergoing a massive food and wine renaissance. It boasts the largest surface area in Italy devoted to agriculture and produces the most wine in the country (along with Sicily and Veneto.) Puglia has also been described as "the capital of organic products" and is famous for its olive oil, durum semolina wheat and asparagus.

The dominant grapes in Puglia are Nero di Troia, Negromaro and Primitivo. Puglia is definitely known for reds but also makes amazing roses and a few fresh whites.

After the passionate Puglians told us all about their homeland and why we should visit, we were then shown some gorgeous video clips of the region before being led through the tasting by the very knowledgeable Ian D'Agata. I have posted notes on each wine below, and throughout you will see the friendly faces of many of the Puglian wine producers who traveled to Canada to share their wine! These notes come mainly from Ian D'Agata, but I've thrown in a few of my own observations.

Donna Iliana Anima, Coppa d'Oro, White, 2009, 13%
Grape: Bombino Bianco
fresh, easygoing, honey, herbal, delicate
can be used in a sparkling wine or blends (high acidity)
dry, tart finish
often consumed as an aperitif
pair with vegetables, fish

Posta Arignano, D'Alfonso del Sordo, Rose, 2009, 12.5%
Grape: Montepulciano fruity, simple, uncomplicated, red berries
honeysuckle, like a tawny port upon second smell
pair with fish cooked with tomatoes and herbs

Nobiles Nero di Troia, Antica Cantina, Red, 2009, 12.5%
Grape: 100% Nero di Troia (the "new red grape of Puglia")
ages well
elegant, tobacco, small red berries, jam, fruity, delicately spicy
ripe/rife acidity

Cacc'e mmitte, Alberto Longo, Red, 2008, 13%
Grapes: Nero di Troia, Montepulciano, Bombino Bianco
Cacc'e mmitte is one of the oldest DOC appellations in Puglia.
plummy, spicy, fuller bodied, sweet fruit, cedar

Vigna Grande, Spagnoletti Zeuli, Red, 2007, 13%
Grape: Nero di Troia
delicate spice, red fruit, smooth tannins

Petranera, Albea, Red, 2007, 13.5%
Grape: Primitivo
darker than the rest
vanilla (oak), black fruits, rich, velvety mouthfeel
cherry, plum, cocoa
very different from Nero di Troia

Tatu, Vigne e Vini, Red, 2007, 14%
Grapes: 80% Primitivo, 20% Aglianico
tobacco, herbs, ripe, jammy flavours
mineral, acidic
smell Aglianico on the nose, taste Primitivo on the palate

Ghenos, Torrevento, Red, 2007, 14%
Grape: Primitivo
dark, concentrated colour
mild spice, short finish

Vereto, Vallone, Red, 2007, 13%
Grape: Negromaro
not very tannic
fresh, light, drinkable
this winery is on 1000 acres (huge estate)
pair with pizza, pasta

Masseria Maime, Tormaresca, Red, 2006, 13.5%
Grape: 100% Negromaro
very good example of Negromaro
full-bodied, ripe red fruit, delicate, ripe tannins

Romanico, Cefalicchio, Red, 2005, 13%
Grape: Nero di Troia
less fleshy
biodynamic winery
higher in acid, lower alcohol, less colour, red cherry, hazelnut
larger, fatter, cluster of grapes (Nero di Troia)
sweet smell

After the tasting, we were invited to enjoy some tasty antipasto and try even more of the wines of Puglia. It was a lot of fun meeting the Italian wine producers; true to form they were all quite friendly and passionate about their product. Being part Italian myself, I did feel quite at home chatting with some of them and I started to think that a trip to Puglia would indeed be a great idea. Many thanks to Antonio for bringing these wines to Canada so we could all have a taste!

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