Category Archives: Puglia

Puglia Rosè of Romaldo Greco

Recently, I wrote that I had been contacted by Caterina Baldini, president and co-founder of Associazione Puglia in Rosè, a producers’ association dedicated to Pugliese rose’ wines. Their purpose is to promote the Apulian Rose Wine Brand in the USA and the world.

For more information see Puglia in Rosè

Caterina had sent me samples and arranged another Zoom meeting for me with a producer, Azienda Agricola Romaldo Greco.

Representing the winery were Gloria Greco, a family member and one of the owners of her family’s winery, and Alessandra Zappi the export manager, who supplied much of the technical information.

Gloria Greco told me that Azienda Agricola Romaldo Greco was founded in 1973 by Romaldo Greco in Secil, a village in the heart of the Salento peninsular. It is 5 kilometers from Lecce.

She added that it has always been a great place to grow grapes. They have 15 hectares of vines in 4 different locations: Valentin, Murrone, Conte Grande and Renda.

Gloria said quality first, along with passion, tradition and innovation, sums up the Azienda and its wines.

They grow both autochthon and international varieties.

The Cork

Gloria said they use a special cork for their wine, Nomacoro Bioselect corks which are made using sugar cane. They are engineered to ensure that the wine tastes exactly the same from bottle to bottle helping to protect the wine from faults and flaws due to natural corks. Nomacoro’s breathable core allows the natural micro oxygenation of the wine and preserves the wine’s aroma and flavor.

The Cork

The Wine 

Malvasia Nera Salento IGP Rosè “Puro” made from 100% Malvasia Nera. Malvasia Nera is an old varietal with unknown origins. It is widely spread particularly in the southern part of Apulia. It is possible that the “parents” of this variety are Negroamaro and Malvvasia Bianco Lunga.

The vineyard is at 76 meters and the soil is medium textured with a high proportion of clay. There are 4,000/5,000 plants per hectare and the training system is spurred cordon. Harvest takes place at the end of September. The grapes are hand picked and carefully placed in small baskets. Gloria said this is to make sure that even the slightest fermentation does not take place so the grapes arrive as fresh as possible at the winery. There is a soft pressing of the grapes. Skin contact is for about 4 hours. This gives the wine a pale color with orange reflections. Fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled tanks for 10/12 days. The wine is aged for four months in stainless steel and one month in bottle before release. This is a balanced light fruity wine with hints of fresh fruit, red berries, cherries, red apples floral notes and a slight almond finish.

Gloria recommends drinking this wine as an aperitif or with antipasti, seafood and white meats.

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Filed under Azienda Agricola Romaldo Greco, Nomacoro Bioselect corks, Puglia, Rose

A Taste of Puglia at SD 26 in NYC

At a recent tasting and dinner at SD26, I was very impressed by the wines of Alberto Longo. I have known Alberto and his wines for a number of years, but something seemed different. I asked Alberto if the winemaker was the same or if he made any changes in how the wines were made. He said that the winemaker was still Graziana Grassini and she is making the wine the same way. He added however that the wines were better because his vines were now 12 years old and this made all the difference.

Alberto Longo

Alberto Longo

He also said that he does not like to use new wood for aging his wine. It hides the true character by adding aromas and flavors that do not enhance the wine but distract from it. Only three of his wines see wood and it is second, third and fourth passage barrels.

Alberto Longo and Chef Vito Aversa

Alberto Longo and Chef Vito Aversa

The Alberto Longo winery is located in Lucera, in northern Puglia, and there are 35 hectares of vineyards around and near the winery. Alberto is very proud of his region, especially the food and wine. For this tasting and dinner he flew in Vito Centrone, the young owner of restaurant da Tuccino near Bari, and his chef Vito Aversa who prepared the food with the help of the SD26 staff.IMG_6243

IGT Puglia Bianco “le Fassete” 2011 made from 100% Falanghina. The production area for the wine is San Severo and Masseria Celentano in northern Puglia. The vineyard was planted in 2002 and the soil is calcareous clay loam. There are 5,600 vines per hectare. After a soft pressing the grapes are de-stemmed. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures. The wine remains on the lees for three months. Alberto wanted to show the current vintage 2012 but was sent the 2011. For me this was the better choice because the wine had an extra year of aging and had developed more character. Italian white wines can age and Alberto said he has older vintages at the winery. The wine was a perfect combination with the fish crudo. It has a fruity and floral bouquet. It is full bodied with hints of citrus and good acidity. IMG_6238

Puglia IGT Rosso “le Cruste” 2010 made from 100% Nero di Troia. Type of soil is calcareous clayey texture. Fermentation in stainless steel with prolonged skin contact. After malolactic fermentation the wine is aged in French barriques (second and third passage) and in casks for at least 12 months, then at least 18 months in bottle before release. This wine had flavors and aromas of blackberry and plum and a touch of spice.IMG_6231

It was served with fresh black squid ink orecchiette in a sauce of clams, red shrimps and zucchini flowers. IMG_6235

Cacc’e Mmitte di Lucera DOC 2012 made from 55% Nero di Troia, 30% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and 30% Bombino Bianco. The soil is calcareous with sandy topsoil. There are 5,600 vines per hectare. Viniflcation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures with prolonged maceration on the skins. Malolactic fermentation takes place in November. The wine is aged in cement tanks for at least 6 to 8 months and it bottle for at least 6 months before release. Alberto said that this appellation had been nearly forgotten. He helped to support it along with its principal grape Nero di Troia, aka Uva di Troia. The wine has aromas and flavors of berries such as blackberry and blueberry, and a touch of violet.

Oven roasted wild turbot with a potato crust, fresh tomatoes, parsley and garlic was the accompaniment.IMG_6251

IGT Puglia Rosso “Capoposto” 2012 made from 100% Negroamaro. There are 5,600 plants per hectare. Vinification is in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperature with prolonged skin contact with the must. Malolatic fermentation takes place in the month of November. Aging takes place in concrete vats for at least 6 to 8 months and in bottle for at least 6 months before release. This is a wine with aromas of red and black berries. It is a medium to full bodied wine with a long finish and nice aftertaste. Served with Fassone Piemontese rib eye with braised endive and radicchio.

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Filed under Alberto Longo, Nero di Troia, Puglia, Restaurant da Tuccino

Puglia: a taste from ITALY’S HEEL

I have always enjoyed the wine and food of Puglia since my first visit there over 30 years ago. It was then that I first tasted Primitivo, Salice Salentino, and orrechiette with  broccoli rabe among other great local dishes.  A number of years later I became the wine director for I Trulli in Manhattan.  The restaurant specialized in the wine and food of Puglia and our list featured the largest number of wines from Puglia in America.  Most of the food on the menu was from that region, too.  

 A few weeks ago I received an invitation (no it was not for a trip to Puglia, though last November I was invited on a press trip by Franco Ziliani to Puglia for the Radici Wine Experience. ttp://   It was a great trip and I hope to go back to Puglia soon.)  It was for a seminar and lunch of the wines of Puglia at Park Ave Spring Restaurant. I was looking forward to tasting the current vintages and comparing them to the ones I tried last year. How could one refuse an event with the title “Puglia: a Taste from Italy’s Heel?”

  The moderator of the panel was Anthony Giglio.  The panel included four producers whose wines were being presented: Beniamino D’Agostino, owner of Cantina Botromagano (a privately owned Cantina Sociale), Alberto Longo, the owner  of Masseria Celentano-Alberto Longo, Donato Antonio Giuliani, the winemaker at Cantina Teanum, and Antonio Gargano, President and CE0 of Casaltrinita (Cantina Coop).   Anthony said that all of the wines in the tasting were $20 or less and represented very good value. After tasting the wines I had to agree with him.

 Anthony then spoke about the region of Puglia and the grapes that are in the wine that we would taste:

 Greco — Its origin is Greece and it was first cultivated in Calabria and then in Campania and Puglia.

 Fiano– It was known to Pliny the Elder (d79 AD). Bees, api where attracted to its sweet clusters so it was known as apiano which later became Fiano,  

Moscato– It is Greek in origin and is widely present in the Mediterranean basin. It might be related to the Greek Anathelicon Moschaton and the Roman Apianei.

Malvasia Bianca –Most likely from the Morea area of Greece.

Aglianico — It may be Greek, or from ancient Phoenicia, or more precisely, Euboes ( see for more information). It is used to make Taurasi in Campania and Aglianico del Vulture in Basilicata and is also found in Puglia.

Nero di Troia (Uva di Troia) — May have come from Asia Minor or is native to the commune of Troia (Foggia) in Puglia.

Primitivo — DNA testing indicates that it came from Croatia and is related to the Zinfandel grape. It may have been introduced by Benedictine monks into the hilly area of Gioia del Colle in Puglia.

 Montepulciano — The origin of this grape variety is not really known, though it is the second-most commonly grown indigenous grape planted in Italy (Sangiovese is #1).

 In response to a question on how the wines were aged, all of the panelists agreed that the use of all new oak was not good because the wine would lose its identity. They use a combination of new oak (barriques–225 liter barrels), second and third passage, tonneaux (500 liter oak barrels) and stainless steel to age the wine, depending on the producer.

Donato Antonio Giuliani

 Mr. Giuliani, in response to another question about the alcohol in the wine said that high alcohol is not a problem in the northern part of Puglia. If I understood him correctly he said that there is always a wind that blows across the land and unlike other places, it is cooler inland than it is by the sea. This would not be true of the Salento area in the south of Puglia which is much hotter. All of his wines were 13.5% alcohol. I was sitting at the same table with Mr. Giuliani at lunch and we spoke some more about his wines.


 Wines at the tasting

 Gravina DOP 2010 60% Greco and 40% Malvasia. Cantina Botromagano. Beniamino said sometimes they add a little Fiano and Bianco di Alessano. Production area is the countryside surrounding the town of Gravina. There are between 1,215 and 1,416 vines per acre and they are spur-pruned cordon. The harvest takes place in late September and the wine is fermented in stainless steel at controlled temperatures for 15 days.  The wine does not undergo malolatic fermentation and is aged for four months in stainless steel tanks. When I was in Puglia in November of last year, I had tasted the 2009.  Looking back at my notes, they were almost the same. It is a fruity fresh wine–almost like biting into a green apple with a slight touch of tropical fruit. They are the only producers of Gravina. $12

Beniamino D'Agostino

 I have known Beniamino D’ Agostino for a number of years and I visited Cantina Botromagno in November and spent time talking to him. He is very knowledgeable and informative.


La Preta 2010 70% Moscato and 30% Sauvignon Blanc Masseria Celentano of Alberto Longo.The Production area is the Settentrional Apulia.  There are 5,600 vines per hectare and the training system is spur-pruned cordon. Harvesting takes place at the end of August and the beginning of September. The grapes are gently de-stemmed and pressed and alcoholic fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is kept on the lees for 3 months. The wine was smoky and had fruity aromas. On the palate it was dry with hints of herbs surrounded by the fruit of the Moscato with a great finish and aftertaste. It was an unusual combination but it worked!   $18

Alberto Longo

 I first met and tasted the wines of Alberto Longo at Keste Pizza and Vino in NYC after Vino 2010 and was very impressed with his wines. From speaking with him, I found that not only does he have a great passion for the wines of Puglia but also for the food and the land itself.

 Vascello Salento Rosso IGT 2009 100% Primitivo Masseria Celentano- Alberto Longo — The production area is the municipal district of Manduria-Taranto. There are 5,600 plants per hectare and the training system is spur-pruned cordon. The harvest is late August to the beginning of September. There is stainless fermentation with prolonged contact with the skins. After malolatic fermentation, the wine is aged in French oak barrels and tonneaux (500 liters) for about 18 months. This is a fruity Primitivo with a touch of dry prunes and it works very well with food.  $20

 Otre Aglianico Puglia IGT 2006 100% Aglianico Cantina Teanum.   The name of the winery comes the ancient Roman city of Teanum  Apulum, which today is the city of San Paolo di Civitate. This ancient city was so important for the Romans that the whole region is called “Puglia” from “Apulum”. The Apulia region is the area of production. There are 5,000 vines per hectare and the training is espalier trees. The harvest takes place from the 4th to 18th of September.  27 days of prolonged maceration of the wines on the skins in stainless steel tanks. Maturing and aging in French oak, stainless steel tanks and in the bottle. This is a fruit forward wine with fresh fruit aromas and flavors and a nice finish and aftertaste. $15

 Alta Nero di Troia IGT 2008 100% Nero di Troia Cantina Teanum.  Production area is San Severo.  There are 5,000 plants per hectare and the training is espalier trees. The harvest takes place in the middle of September. There is a 20 day prolonged maceration of the wine on the skins in stainless steel tanks. Maturing and aging in stainless steel tanks, French oak and bottle. This was the lightest and of the three Nero di Troias that we tasted. It had fresh fruit flavors and aromas and a hint of violets with a very pleasant finish and aftertaste. This wine is 13.5% alcohol but one did not feel it. $10

 Negro di Troia Puglia IGT 2008 100% Nero di Troia. Casaltrinita.  Production area: Trinitapoli. There are 4400 vines per hectare trained in guyot and 2,500 in vine trellis.     The harvest takes place the first 10 days in November. The grapes are fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks with long skin contact. The malolatic fermentation is carried out in November. The wine is aged in French oak barrels for about 5 months and aged in bottle for six months before release.  This was a little heavier in style, with more intense fruit flavors and aromas but in no sense a heavy wine. $14

  Coppamalva Puglia IGT 2008 70% Nero di Troia and 30% Cabernet Casaltrinita. The Troia grapes are harvested in the first ten days of November and the Cabernet in the second half of September. The grapes are fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The must remains in long contact with the skins. This wine had nice fruit but the Cabernet in the blend dominated. $13

 Pier delle Vigna Rosso Murgia IGT 2006 60% Aglianico and 40% Montepulciano Cantine Botromagno. The production area is the border area between Matera and Gravina. The vine training system of the Montepulciano is spur-pruned guyot and for the Aglianico, it is alberello-self supporting bush trained vines. There are about 4,000 plants per hectare and the harvest is in late October. The wine spends 24 months in new French Allier 225 liters oak barrels (barriques) 50% new and 50% once used. It is aged in bottle for a year and then released. I tasted this wine’s same vintage when I was in Puglia and again my tasting notes are similar. This is a more modern style wine with aromas and flavors of red and black berries, pepper and a hint of tobacco.

 Wines with Lunch

 Greco Puglia IGT 2010 100% Greco Casaltrinita 2,500 vines per hectare and trained with the apulian vine trellis and guyot. The harvest takes place in the first ten days of September. The grapes are gently de stemmed and pressed. The alcoholic fermentation is carried out in stainless steel tanks; I do not think that malolatic fermentation took place. The wine was kept on the fine lees for three months.

The wine has aromas and flavors of citrus fruit and a touch of almond the same way I described it when I tasted it in Puglia.

 Otre Primitivo Puglia IGT 2008 100% Primitivo Cantine Teanum The grape harvest took place between the 15th and 16th of October. 27 days of prolonged maceration of the wine on the skins in stainless tanks. Maturing and aging in French oak and stainless steel and in the bottle. This is a full bodied wine with hits of dried fruit.

 Querciagrande Puglia IGT 2009 100% Nero di Troia Masseria Celentano-Alberto Longo Production zone: Settentrional Apulia. There are 5,600 vines per hectare and the training is spur-pruned cordon. The harvest takes place in the beginning of September. Fermentation is in stainless steel with prolonged skin contact. After malolaiic fermentation the wine is aged in French oak barriques and tonneaux for about 18 months. Of the three wines made from Nero di Troia, this was the biggest and a little more modern in style.

 Gravisano Malvasia Passita Murgia Bianco IGT 2005 100% Malvasia lunga. Cantine Botromagno. Production area is the best vineyard in Gravina and Spinazzola. There are 4,500 vines per hectare and the training system is Guyot. The harvest is in mid-October. The grapes are sun-dried on reed mats. The wine spends 30 days in New French Allier 225-liter oak barrels (barriques) at 16ºC and in stainless steel tanks for 12 months. This is a traditional wine in the area and it was once made with the ancient Gravisano grape that long ago became extinct. Nice way to end the lunch with a dessert wine that was not too sweet with hints of toasted almonds apricots and honey.






Filed under Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Puglia

Part II The Radici Experience: Puglia

After tasting wines in the hotel with the producers for two days, it was nice to get out and visit the wineries and walk among the vines. We also visited a cheese producer, the octagonal castle commissioned by the Emperor Frederick II of Swabia, and the region around the castle known as Castel del Monte.

Castel del Monte


The Santa Lucia Winery

We were guided in our walking tour of the vineyards by Robert Perrone Capano, one of the owners. He pointed out the different training systems for the vines, the Guyot and the more traditional Tendone system (Pergola). They do not buy grapes, do not use any chemical products in the fields, and are 100% biological. Grass was growing between the rows of vines and Robert told us that this was done so that they would have natural mulch after the grass was cut and that the competition with the grass for “food” and water was good for the vines.

Santa Lucia Winery

They use French oak barriques (Allier and Troncais).  Fined grained 228L barrels but he said it is a very “controlled” use as well as 35hl barrels. For their top wines there is no stabilization or filtration. All this they feel gives them their individuality and a respect for the terroir.

We then had a tasting of Riserva “Le More” Castel Del Monte DOC 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998 and1996.

I have tasted older vintages of Negroamaro and Primitivo but most of the Nero di Troia I tasted were from recent vintages. I have had older Nero di Troia, but those wines from the Castel Del Monte always had a fair percentage of Montepulciano. I was looking forward to this tasting so many different vintages of Uva di Troia (also know as Nero di Troia) at one tasting.

The Tendone system at Santa Lucia


Uva di Troia grows best in the Castel del Monte zone, an area that extends north from Bari to the province of Foggia. This area was once dominated by Frederick ll of Swabia (Hohenstaufen, d.1250). He was called “the wonder of the world” by some and “the antichrist” by the pope, and he left his imprint on this part of Puglia.

Uva di Troia might have originated in Asia Minor and was probably brought here by the Greeks. It is named for the town Troia (Troy) in the province of Foggia. The grape does very well in Puglia’s hot climate and does well in most soils. The clusters are compact, V-shaped and sometimes winged and the grapes are violet in color. Uva di Troia ripens in the middle of October later than most other grapes in this region.

Roberto led us in a tasting of his Uva di Troia

 2007 is 100% Uva di Troia. There are 4,000/5000 plants/ha trained in single and double Guyot. The grapes are harvested in mid to late October, they are softly pressed and maceration takes place in rotating stainless steel tanks. It is aged for 12/18 months in French barriques of 228L and in bottle for twelve months before release. This is a more modern style wine. This is the current vintage.

Here are some of my comments on the wines:

1996 was a very interesting wine. The vineyard was 50 years old and it was owned by the owner’s aunt who died at the age of 97. It was aged in 35hl barrels. The wine was still very much alive with very good color. It still had fruit and was drinking very well. I drank all of it with the light lunch that we were served.

1998 was very much like the 1996 but not as mellow.

1999 was very also drinking very well with nice mature fruit and a hint of chocolate. I drank all of this wine.

2000 was not drinking as well as the older wines but was still holding up.

2001–with this vintage it seemed to me that they went to a more modern style

and I felt the wine had changed.

2004 was a good vintage–this was drinking well and was the best of the modern style wines.

They are also doing a top of the line wine called Riserva 0,618 Castle del Monte DOC.

100% Uva di Troia . Only 500 bottles will be produced. After being aged for 18 months in 225 liter oak barrels the wine matures underground for 6-1/2 years. It will be released it 2012. 0,168 a numerical sequence called “Golden Means” in medieval times and was developed by Fibonacci, a mathematician from Pisa in the Xll century. The famous octagonal Castel del Monte designed with this formula and commissioned by Frederic ll, is only 20Kl from the vineyards and can be seen on clear days.

Next we visited Villa Schinosa, a winery that I had visited a few years ago.  I had been impressed by their wines. When I walked into the wine cellar I was happy to see that everything was the same. Two long rows of barrels of Slovenian oak 35HL and not a barrique in sight. Another winery we visited had a large room filled with many new barriques. After a few minutes I had to leave because the smell was making me ill. At Villa Schinosa all the wines are aged in stainless steel or in botte grande.

I like their 100% Uva di Troia 2007 DOC. The wine is aged for two years in large barrels of Slavonian oak 35HL and for 3/6 months in bottle before release. It is a very elegant wine with black fruit aromas and flavors and hints of violet with a very pleasant finish and aftertaste. It is a very good food wine.

The Botromagno winery is located just outside the town of Gravina. In 1991 the D’Agostino family, which was a member of the local cooperative took it over. It was the first time in Italy where a privately owned compan partnered with more than 100 local growers.  We were given a tour of the winery by the very personable and knowledgeable Beniamino D’Agostino. I had met Beniamino before when I was working for an Apulian restaurant in NYC where we sold his wines, and at Vintaly in Verona.

Gravina DOC  2009 made from 60% Greco di Tufo and 40% Malvasia. Beniamino said that sometime there is the addition of a little Fiano and Bianco di Alessano. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks for 15 days, there is no malolatic. The wine is fruity and fresh almost like biting into a green apply with a slight touch of pineapple and good acidity. They are the only producers of Gravina.

Pier della Vigno Rosso Murgia IGT 2006 Made from 60% Aglianico and 40% Montepulciano The vines of Aglianico are planted in deep volcanic soil and the ones for Montepulciano in chalky soil. The training system is also different, bush for Aglianico and vertical for Montepulciano. The harvest takes place in late October. The wine is fermented in stainless steel with 20 days skin contact. 50% of the wine is in new Allier barriques and 50% in barriques of second passage. The wine has aromas and flavors of red berries, pepper, and hints of tobacco and chocolate.

The wine is named for Pier della Vigno the right hand man of Frederic II of Swabia. Pier was said to introduce the first red grapes to this zone.

I also liked their Nero di Troia Rosso Murgia IGT 2007.  Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks with skin contact for 10 days. The wine is then aged in stainless steel for 20 months. The wine does not undergo malolatic fermentation. It remains in the bottle for six months before release. This is a very interesting wine with aromas and flavors of cherries, tobacco and a touch of spice.

On the afternoon of the last day there was a vertical tasting of Taurasi (Aglicanico), Contrade di Taurasi Cantina Leonardo and Patriglione (90% Negroamaro and 10% Malvasia Nera) Cosimo Taurino Vintages 99-00-01 the panel was hosted by Franco Ziliani and Luciano Pignataro.

I have a long history with Patriglione going back to the first vintage in 1979. It had been called the Amarone of the south–a description I never liked. I visited the winery a few years ago and tasted the ‘99. I also tasted it a number of times in NYC. I found the wine not to be as big and jammy as some of the older vintages. It is still a powerful wine but more elegant and the dried fruit was not as pronounced. However there is still the  classic Negroamaro aroma with an undertone of prune. The 2000 and 2001 had the same characteristic.  When I asked Francesco Taurino if he did anything different since 1999, his answer was “only in the vineyard”. My favorite at the tasting was the 2001. At a League of Gentle Men dinner I brought the 1999 Patrigione and I decanted it before dinner. The wine opened in the glass and was really drinking well.

Cantina Leonardo Contrade di Taurasi 100% Aglianico this winery is only four hectares of vineyards and produces only four wines. The vineyards are at 350/400 meters and the vines are 20/50 years old. The harvest takes place the first week of November. Maceration in stainless steel for one month, aged in barrels for 18 months and in bottle for 12 months before it is released. The wine has aromas and flavors of cherry, plum, violets and hints of spice. The 2001 was showing the best.

In the evening of the last day there was a presentation of three books written about wine, food and places to stay in Puglia. They are:

Pizzaviaggiando The first edition of a guide by Nicola Campanile on Apulian pizzerias

 Dolce Guide – Percorsi enogastronomici di Puglia e dintorni a guide to the restaurants, wine bars and places to stay in Apulia (Eighth Edition).  Food and wine tours in Puglia and the surrounding area by Vincenzo Rizza and Nicholas Bell. 

 Radici wines: Guide on Apulian wines for experts and wine lovers 2011 (second edition).  Based on an idea by Nicola Campanile, who is also the editor. Texts by Franco Zilliani (wine professional) and Vincenzo Rizzi (wine lover) English Texts by Kyle Phillips. The wines in this book were chosen by two panels one made up of wine professionals called, The technical jury and one made up on non-professionals called The wine lovers jury. The book contains reviews of 178 wines competing for the top awards that were given out the last day of the Radici Experience. All the wines in the competition are from the indigenous grapes of Puglia.

 For more information on The Radici Puglia Experience go to 

There is an interesting article by Nicola Campanile president of ProPapilla titled “Southern Roots and good reason to think big”. If you sign up on the site you can find the 35 wines that took top honors as well as the other awards that were given out.

 Valerie’s New York www.wor710 listen to Charles Scicolone On Wine every Wednesday at 6:05. – pizza and more!


Filed under Italian Wine, Puglia

Radici Wine Experience: Puglia

Radici Wine Experience: Puglia

 It looked like it would be an exciting trip to Puglia (also known as Apulia). There would be two days of tasting at the hotel with 36 producers, visits to wineries, a vertical tasting and discussion of the 1999, 2000 and 2001 of wines from two wineries–one from Puglia and one from Campania, a presentation of 3 books one on wine, one on pizza and one on food and travel in Apulia, restaurant awards and wine awards and all of this in just four days.

 I was invited by Franco Ziliani the Italian journalist at, one of the most respected web-sites in Italy and, the English version translation with commentary by Jeremy Parzen. The event was organized by Nicola Campanile.

Franco Ziliani

  There were 10 foreigners on the trip from Poland, Denmark and the US. We were divided into “buyers” and “journalists” and when we tasted with the producers, they tried to keep the journalists and the buyers separated but by the afternoon session of the first day they gave up. It was a very interesting group and we quickly understood that we had basically the same taste in wine. Franco Ziliani–in an article he wrote for the Italian Sommelier Association website stated–the main “lesson” of the Radici Wine Experience for the Apulian producers (is) there’s no unique American taste in wine and the “global American taste” they think still exists is part of the past.

 I could not agree more with Franco and it is a “lesson” that producers from other parts of Italy should note.  All the foreign buyers and journalists agreed. Over-oaked and over- extracted wines are a thing of the past. It is a very interesting article because Ziliani is an Italian journalist who has interacted with foreign journalists and buyers writing about Italian producers and the state of Italian wine.

Meeting with the producers

 The first morning as we entered the tasting area the producers were all lined up in a long narrow room at the hotel Masseria San Giovanni in Altamura waiting for us to enter. The format was simple, the wine writer or wine buyer would sit with the producer taste their wines as the producer talked about the wines and the winery. The tasting went on for two days with morning and afternoon sessions on each day. There were 9 producers at each session. The first day there were wineries that produced Primitivo and those producing wines from the Salento region. On the second day producers from Central and Northern Apulia, along with producers making Aglianico del Vulture (Basilicata), presented their wines.

 The Wines

 Bombino Bianco “Catapanus” 2009 Puglia IGT –D’Alfonso del Sordo. 100% Bombino Bianco. The wine is made from “ripe” grapes and is fermented in stainless steel tanks. The Bombino Bianco grape does very well in the soil here which is clay, sand and limestone.

 Greco 2009 Puglia IGT 100% Greco Casaltrinita many producers are now making Greco in Apulia. They are careful to point not that this is not Greco di Tufo, which comes from Campania, but this one is home grown.

 Chardonnay 2009 IGT Puglia 100% Chardonnay Tormaresca the wine is fermented in stainless steel, the malolatic fermentation takes places in second passage barriques and it is aged in French and Hungarian oak for three months. I did not find any oaky or vanilla aromas or flavors in the wine and found it very easy to drink. It was served with dinner at the Tormaresca winery and went very well with the food.

 Malvasia Bianco 2009 Salento IGT 100% Malvasia Bianca Agricola Conti Zecca Fermentation in stainless steel temperature controlled tanks and then aged in cement tanks covered with epoxy resin. This is a very pleasant fruity upfront wine that is very easy to drink.

 Falanghina “le Fossette” 100% Falanghia Alberto  Longo The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks and kept on the fine lees for three months. This is a well balanced and structured wine with fruity and floral aromas and flavors.

 Locorotondo DOC 2009 60% Verdeca 35% BiancoD’Alessano and 5% Fiano Minutolo Cantina Albea Fermentation starts at low temperatures in stainless steel tanks after a firm maceration a 4/6ºC for 18 hours. The wine does not undergo malolatic fermentation.

 Moscato Reale “Garbino” 2009 Puglia IGT(Dry Moscato)  100% Moscato Reale di Trani.  Schinosa. The wine is very well balanced with nice flavors and aromas of citrus with hints of orange. Dry in the mouth but with a fruity finish and aftertaste.

 Mjere “Rose”2009 Salento IGT 90% Negroamaro and 10% Malvasia Nera.  Calo When I was the wine director for an Apulian restaurant in NYC, this was one of my favorite roses and became a favorite of our customers. It has aromas of cherries and strawberries.  It is fresh and fruity with a nice finish and lingering after taste.

 Fichimori  Salento IGT 2009 100% Negroamaro  Tormaresca  We had this wine with dinner at the Tormaresca winery. After the grapes are crushed a pre-fermentative maceration takes place and lasts for six days at 5ºC and then the fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. I had never had this wine before and it was a nice surprise. The wine was fresh and fruity with soft tannins and “only” 12% alcohol. It had flavors and aromas of cherries and other fresh red fruits and berries. We were told that the wine could be served chilled but I liked it at room temperature. The wine has its own Facebook page!

 Malia 2007 Salento Rosso IGT 100% Malvasia Nera Duca Carlo Guarini  Fermentation in stainless steel tanks with skin contact for nine days. Very nice red fruit with good acidity, good body and a long finish.

 Salice Salentino Rosso  DOC 2009 90% Negroamaro and 10% Malvasia Nera from Lecce  Feudi di Guagnano.  Fermentation lasts for about two weeks and the wine is aged in stainless steel tanks for 6 months. Nice aromas and flavors of blackberries and a hint a prune.

 Cappello di Prete Salento IGT 2005 100% Negroamaro. Candido After cold fermentation the wine is matured in second passage barriques of Allier for five months. There are underlying hints of cherry and chocolate and touch of prune in the wine.

 Duca d’ Aragona Salento IGT 2004 80% Negro Amaro and 20% Montepulicano. Candido The wine is matured in second and third passage barriques for a period of time. This is a well-balanced wine with aromas and flavors of chocolate and cherry and it is drinking very well.

 Il Volo Di Alessandro 2007 Rosso Salento IGT 100% Sangiovese. Castel di Salve The grapes are picked in September by hand. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks with skin contact for 13 days, and then aged in stainless steel for nine months and four months in bottle before released. This wine had a lot of character, with aromas of prune and blackberries.

 Nero di Troia “Il Rinzacco” 2007 Castel del Monte DOC 100% Nero di Troia Conte Spagnoletti Zeuli. Skin contact for eight days and fermented in temperature controlled large Allier oak vats and then aged in the same vats for one year. I really liked the aromas and taste of this wine; undertones of violet and aromas and flavors of dark berries, blackberries and blueberries with a hint of spice.

 Agliancio “petriGama” 2007 IGT 100% Aglianico Azienda Agricola Tarantini. Fermented in stainless steel and aged for nine months in stainless steel. This wine tasted like the soil and the gapes from which it came. It has aromas of strawberries and blackberries with a very nice cherry finish and aftertaste. It is an excellent wine with food. They told me that they were doing away with all their barriques and next year would only use stainless steel and botte grande(large barrels)

 Nero 2007 Salento Rosso IGT 70% Negroamaro and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon Azienda Conti Zecca Maceration is for 15 days or more. The wine is aged for 18 months is barriques (second passage) and then in 30 HL oak barrels for 12 months and 6 months in bottle before it is released. This was always a big wine and in the past I felt that it was a little over the top. Now the wine is elegant, well balanced with dark fruit aromas and flavors, a nice after taste and great finish.

 Primitivo Riserva Gioia del Colle DOC 2007 DOC 100% Primitivo Azienda Agricola Giuliani The wine is aged in botte grande and a small amount is in barriques. Well balanced wine and for a Primitivo, if one can use the term “elegant”, with licorice, tobacco and a hint of herbs and acidity.

 Primitivo di Manduria  2009  100% Primitivo. Macchiarola The grapes are harvested the last week in August and the first week in September. Maceration in stainless steel for ten days, the wine then under goes malolatic fermentation. The wine is bottled without filtering or cold-stabilizing. The wine has aromas and flavors of cherry, chocolate and spice and a hint of prune.

 Primitivo di Manduria “Il Sava” 2004 DOC Savese 100% Primitivo.  The grapes are harvested at the end of September when they become raisin-like. The wine is fermented in glass lined cement tanks after which 90% goes into large amphorae and 10% is refined in small oak barrels. The wine is aged in French oak for eight months. This is a big dessert wine with a port like character. Rich and smooth with intense dried fruit aromas. It is only made in the best years. It will age.

 Moscato di Trani  2006 DOC 100%  Moscato Reale di Trani.  Schinosa The grapes are left to wither for about a month until the middle of October. This is a well balanced and full favored dessert wine with aromas and flavors of apricots and almonds. It has a long finish and nice aftertaste.

 After several years as wine director of an Apulian restaurant and having visited Puglia a number of times in the past, I believed that I had a fair knowledge of the wineries and the wines. This Radici Experience showed me that I was mistaken. First of all there were so many new wineries now producing wine and many were going organic.

To have the opportunity to be able to taste wine and to talk to the winemakers and to ask questions is the best way to learn. Tasting white wine made from Bombino Bianco, Verdeca, Bianco d’ Alessano, Minutolo (once called Minutolo Fiano) and Malvasia di Candia among others gave me a new appreciation of the white wines from this region.  Tasting wines made from Bombino Nero, Malvasia Nera, Sumaniello, Nero di Troia , Negroamaro, Primitivo and Aglianico side by side showed the great range of Puglia’s red wines, too.

 Next time:  more on my visits to the wineries, a vertical of Taurasi and Patriglione, notes on Aglianico del Vulture and more.

  I am now on Valerie’s NY Every Wednesday at 6:05 talking about. Wine.

 Make pizza with Roberto of Keste, make pasta with Michele, and drink wine with me. Rome, Naples and everything in between


Filed under Italian Wine, Puglia