Puglia Wine Tours
Puglia is Italy’s best-kept secret
Puglia is one of Italy’s best-kept secrets and is comprised of sun-bleached landscapes, silver olive groves, picturesque seascapes and memorable hilltop and coastal towns. It is a lush, largely flat, farming region, skirted by a long coast that alternates between glittering limestone precipices and long sandy beaches.
The heel of Italy juts into the Adriatic and Ionian Seas and the waters of both are stunningly beautiful, veering between translucent emerald-green and dusky powder blue. Its extensive coastline bears the marks of many conquering invaders: the Normans, the Spanish, the Turks, the Swabians and the Greeks. Yet, despite its diverse influences, Puglia has its own distinct and authentic identity, and of course some fantastic wines.
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More About Puglia
In a land where the cuisine is all-important, Puglia’s cucina povera (peasant cooking) is legendary. Olive oil, grapes, tomatoes, eggplants, artichokes, peppers, salami, mushrooms, olives and fresh seafood strain its table. Although boasting some of Italy’s best food and wines, in some places it’s rare to hear a foreign voice. But in July and August Puglia becomes a huge party, with sagre (festivals, usually involving food), concerts and events, and thousands of Italian tourists heading down here for their annual break.
With such a sumptuously diverse history, owing in no small part to its position at the heel of Italy, Puglia houses some true architectural and cultural treasures. For instance the Castel del Monte is a fascinating octagonal citadel that was built in the 1240s, while geographers and humble nature lovers will enjoy hikes around the Altopiano delle Murge, a karst plateau with fantastic views of the Adriatic.
There are plenty of beaches to explore as well as historic towns such as Martina Franca, which hosts the summer opera festival, the Festival della Valle d’Itria, in which to get lost or enjoy a sumptuous Pugliese lunch. Visitors to this area of Italy will find a healthy balance of activity and relaxation, and when you are taking things easy you will certainly have a fine choice of enticing dishes and wines to keep you company.
Puglia Wine Guide
Puglia boasts four wines that have earned designation as Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG), the first of which was Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale, which was designated in 2010, with three wines from Castel del Monte given DOCG status in 2011. The region also has a further 30 wines with DOC status, and at least a handful of these look ripe to be promoted to DOCG in the not-too-distant future.
The sweet Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale, for which the grapes must be dried on the vine rather than on racks, can only be produced when the climatic conditions permit. But its dry cousin, Primitivo di Manduria, has long been one of the best-loved red wines in Italy and it has been increasing in popularity with wine-lovers across the globe thanks to its intense flavour and tannin-rich punch.
Through its three main viticulture areas – Foggia in the north, Brindisi and Lecce in the south, with Bari and Taranto sandwiched between – many grape varieties are cultivated. But it is the aforementioned Primitivo and the Negroamaro grapes that grow in the south of the region that really allow Puglia to mix it with the top dogs of wine production in Italy.
Puglia Gourmet Guide
In a land where the cuisine is all-important, Puglia’s cucina povera (peasant cooking) is legendary. Olive oil, grapes, tomatoes, eggplants, artichokes, peppers, salami, mushrooms, olives and fresh seafood strain its table.
Although boasting some of Italy’s best food and wines, in some places it’s rare to hear a foreign voice. But in July and August Puglia becomes a huge party, with sagre (festivals, usually involving food), concerts and events, and thousands of Italian tourists heading down here for their annual break.
As with many regions of Italy, Puglia has its own specialist pasta dishes, and their orecchiette (hand-produced ear-shaped pasta shells) certainly go well with turnip tops or any local chef’s personal version of a meat ragu.
Of course, having such an extensive coastline lends itself to top quality seafood, which is available at any one of the myriad fine reasturants to be found within a stone’s throw of the sea. Anchovies, sea bass, red mullet and bream will all appear on menus here, and a chilled glass of white produced from the local Verdeca grape will be just the thing to complement your fish dish.
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Very well organised trip to Tuscany, getting in 2 wine regions. Lovely hotel with amazing view. The best part was our guide Paula who ensured our wine tasting tours were with smaller wineries which have authenticity and care for the environment. Highly recommend SmoothRed!
Warren De Villiers
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