Italy's hidden gem: Puglia
Puglia - Apulia in English - the “heel of the Italian boot” is one of those gems we want to keep secret. This beautiful region of Southern Italy is the perfect holiday location to enthral your senses. Stunning landscapes, outstanding wines and food and a rich cultural history.
Seduced? Read on! This week we are revealing to you the best of what Puglia has to offer:
Most Puglia wines are red, full-bodied and are the unique produce of a diverse landscape. Surrounded by water on three sides, the Adriatic Sea to the east, the Lonian Sea to the southesast , and the Strait of Òtranto and Gulf of Taranto to the south, Puglia benefits from cool breezes that moderate vineyard's temperatures. The warm climate and the fertile soil makes it easy to grow almost anything but the winemakers have focused on using local grapes like Negroamaro, Primitivo, and Bombino Nero.
Negroamaro or “black bitter” in Italian is a grape made almost exclusively in Puglia and particularly in Salento. The grape can produce very deep wine with a rustic character combining the perfume of ripe plum, baked raspberries, and spice-cabinet notes like anise, allspice and cinnamon. Even though Negroamaro is full bodied it is easy to drink and not too tannic or acidic.
Primitivo is a traditional grape from Puglia which was introduced in the 18th century. Now the grape crossed borders and is commonly seen in Californian vineyards under the name Zinfandel. Typically producing robust red wine, richer and fuller bodies than Negroamaro, the grape gives wines a perfume of dark fruit like fresh figs, blueberries and baked blackberries as well as a distinct dried fruit-leather character.
Bombino Nero is a permitted grape variety in the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) wines of Castle del Monte and Lizzano. Primarily used as a bleeding grape, Bombino Nero makes rosés and red table wines with notes of fresh, lively fruits.
WHAT TO DO?
Surrounded by seas, Puglia's coastline is longer than any other mainland Italian regions. This means visitors can enjoy long days on white sand beaches and in crystalline water.
Wonder around Trani's small harbour - picture above - and enjoy its glowing Romanesque cathedral the Basilica of San Nicola Pellegrino and visit the Gargano - picture below - which ranks as one of Italy’s most ruggedly beautiful territories to make the most of the coastline.
Head to one of Puglia's two national parks, the Alta Murgia National Park and Gargano National Park to enjoy long tracks on untouched astonishing areas.
Make sure you learn about the region's cultural heritage because it is one of the richest archaeological part of Italy. First colonized by Mycenaean Greeks, a number of castles were built in the area by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, including Castel del Monte which is often referred as the crown of Puglia - picture below.
You name it! Puglia has LOTS to offer and is indeed the perfect holiday destination this summer.
Can't make it to Puglia this year? Don't worry! We are organising a Wine Tasting around Puglia's finest wine, Tormaresca (more info and tickets available here).