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WSET Diploma: Unit 3: Italy > Puglia > Flashcards

Flashcards in Puglia Deck (25)
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Second highest volume producer, mostly bulk, but a growth in quality produce. Interest in quality IGT from this region. Hot maritime climate. Negroamaro and Primitivo (Zinfandel) both produce full-bodied reds with high alcohol and spicy berry characters.


Salice Salentino DOC and Copertino DOC

Negrwomaro with some Malvasia Nera, intense, almost port-like.


Primitivo del Manduria

Primitivo grown near the town of Manduria on the western side of the Salento peninsula.



Italian name for what is known by English speakers as Apulia, the long (350 km/210 mile) and fertile region on the ‘heel’ of Italy (see map under italy) which has long been of major importance for the production of wine and table grapes. A mediterranean climate and a predominance of soils well suited to grape-growing (a calcareous base from the Cretaceous era overlain by topsoils rich in iron oxide from the Tertiary and Quaternary eras) have created an ideal viticultural environment. Its name derives from the Roman a-pluvia or ‘lack of rain’. Total vineyard area in 2012 was 107,000 ha/250,000 acres, of which a decreasing 60,000 ha is dedicated to basic table wine, and 24,000 ha to growing table grapes. Puglia rivals Sicily as Italy’s second most productive wine region, well behind Veneto. Many growers have taken subsidies from the eu to grub up their vineyards but, unfortunately, many of these were of low-yielding bush vines, while many remaining vines tend to be high-cropping inferior varieties planted on fertile soils. While much of Puglia’s viticulture is still focused on bulk wine for blending, a reduction in compulsory distillation to drain the EU wine lake has forced producers to adopt a more market-oriented approach. Cue international varieties, especially Chardonnay and Merlot, each of which were planted on about 1,000 ha by 2010. Although both varieties are allowed in several of Puglia’s 32 dOCs and dOCGs, most are unremarkable and sold in bulk to large bottlers in the north to satisfy international supermarket demand. Sangiovese, with 12,500 ha, is Puglia’s most planted variety, and together with the lacklustre but equally high-yielding trebbiano Toscano, constitutes much of the wine shipped in bulk, with hardly any plantings registered as DOC. More local varieties such as primitivo, negroamaro, and nero di troia are slowly finding their way into DOC and igt wines rather than the most basic table wine. While grape growers, as opposed to wine producers, are the norm here, with co-operatives responsible for most winemaking, many have begun to bottle at least part of their production in order to compensate for plummeting bulk wine prices. Few of these first-timers have knowledge of or formal training in winemaking, which explains what is often very modest quality. Puglia’s propensity for bulk wine production combined with excessively high yields even at DOC level, has tended to overshadow its unique wine styles based on indigenous varieties. In the north between Foggia and Bari Nero di Troia produces tannic, full-bodied reds under the Castel del Monte DOC. Confusingly, both Castel del Monte Nero di Troia Riserva and Castel del Monte Bombino Nero Rosato have been elevated to DOCG status, although the latter is of only marginal importance. In the centre, between Bari and Matera, Primitivo is responsible for some of Puglia’s most popular wines, dark, rich, and often marketed as IGT, although the best wines tend to be sold as DOC Gioia del Colle with its tangy acidity and DOC Primitivo di Manduria grown further south between Brindisi and Taranto and generally richer, although wines tend to be determined by winemaking rather than terroir. The Salento peninsula, the heel of the boot, is home to Negroamaro. When grown on bush vines in the narrow Salento peninsula, where the proximity of both the Adriatic and the Ionian Seas brings a welcome night-time cooling, it can produce rich, spicy wines of considerable interest. Puglia’s biggest challenge is to reinvent itself as quality wine producer rather than bulk wine supplier. Unfortunately, because most of its production is either bulk or IGT, there are very few producer associations to help market the higher quality wines. Puglia’s very few Consorzios, which may be formed only at DOC level, are practically defunct. What Puglia urgently needs is to ensure the survival of its centenarian bush vines and most interesting indigenous varieties, and, ideally, a viticultural and winemaking institute identical to san michele all’adige to help shape its future.


Salice Salentino

DOC for robust red wine made mainly from negroamaro grapes in south east Italy. The DOC Salice Salentino Bianco was created for Chardonnay-based whites, although the variety has no history nor much adaptability here. For more details



DOC for robust red wine made mainly from negroamaro grapes on relatively flat terrain in south east Italy. For more details, see puglia. The co-operative winery of Copertino has begun identifying superior vineyard sites within the DOC


Bombino Bianco

Was planted on 1,229 ha/3,036 acres of southern Italy, mainly in puglia, in 2010. In abruzzo it is regularly confused with, and may even be identical to, trebbiano d’Abruzzo. It ripens late and yields extremely high quantities of relatively neutral wine. Some of its synonyms, Pagedebit (‘it pays the debts’) and Straccia Cambiale (‘tear up the invoices’) in particular, allude to its profitability to the vine-grower. The dark-berried Puglian Bombino Nero, planted on almost as much vineyard, may well be related.


Puglia: History

Puglian wines were praised for their quality in Roman times.

Biggest producer in Italy but culture of overproduction and low quality bulk.

Since 2000s: external investment to modernise winemaking techniques (refrigeration and stainless steel) and flying winemakers contributed to a regeneration of the area


Puglia: Climate and Weather

Mediterranean climate w long summer months & rainfall only in winter months. Little annual variation.


Puglia: Topography and Soils

South of Abruzzi along the Adriatic coast w 70% of vineyards in the flat fertile coastal plains w some rolling hills

Calcareous soil base


Puglia: Negromaro

Most planted in Puglia & 6th most planted red in Italy

Vigorous & hi yielding w a preference for calcareous and limey soils

Ripens later vs. Primitivo

Dark, thick-skinned berries that produce hi alcohol, full bodied, tannic reds with spicy berry aromas & an earthy bitterness (‘amaro’)

Blended w Malvasia Nera e.g. Salice Salentino

Victim of the EU vine pull scheme in the 1990s


Puglia: Primitivo

Early ripening grape

Produces full bodied reds w spicy berry characters

Grown principally in Puglia; victim of 90s EU vine pull scheme


Puglia: Malvasia Nera

Dark version of Malvasia bianco

Usually used in blends to add perfume


Puglia: Other Red Grape Varieties

Uva di Troia (aromatic premium grape variety), Sangiovese, Montepulciano


Puglia: Bombino bianco

Late ripening, hi yielding white grape that produces relatively neutral wines

Found in 8 Puglian DOCs


Puglia: Verdeca

Light berried native vine that produces neutral wines ideal for Vermouth

Tart, vegetal, hi acidity


Puglia: Other White Grape Varieties

Chardonnay, Trebbiano Toscano, Malvasia Bianca


Puglia: Key Appellations and Characteristics

3 areas:
North: large volumes of undistinguished wine from tendone-trained Trebbiano, Sangiovese & Montepulciano

Central: Uva di Troia (Castel del Monte DOC) and Montepulciano showing promise

South: the flat Salento peninsula produces some of the best wines from Negroamaro & Primitivo

6 IGTs & 25 DOCs.


Puglia: Salice Salentino DOC

Located in Italy’s ‘heel’; DOC since 76 producing intense port-like reds from Negromaro & Malvasia Nera in the provinces of Brindisi & Lecce


Puglia: Copertino DOC

Negroamaro with no more than 30% Malvasia/Montepulciano/Sangiovese.

Riserva are aged min 2 years before release and must have min 12.5% abv


Puglia: Primitivo del Manduria (R/ Sweet/ Fortified)

DOC on the western of the Salento peninsula, around the town of Manduria

Made from 100% Primitivo for hi alcohol (~14% abv) full bodied reds w notes of plum and spice


Puglia: Other Important Appellations

Squinzano DOC, Castel del Monte DOC


Puglia: Production and Key Producers

105,000ha for 7.8m hl/yr – #1 area under vine & producer in Italy w 14% of total wine production o Only 2% DOC and only 25% of the wine sold in bottle.

Key producers:
- Leone de Castris – Salice Salentino - 2.5m btls

- Conti Zecca – Salice Salentino IGT – 1.5m btls



Italian name for the originally Croatian zinfandel grape (see also tribidrag), grown principally in puglia. Once highly prized for blending, in the 1990s it fell victim to the same EU vine pull scheme as negroamaro. Plantings fell to under 8,000 ha by the turn of the century but the 1994 confirmation by dNA profiling that Primitivo was Zinfandel led to commercial success as a varietal (rather than as a blending ingredient) and staunched the loss of vineyards in the 21st century. From 1999, Italian exporters have been allowed to label their Primitivo as Zinfandel and the Italian vine census of 2010 found a total vineyard area of 12,234 ha/30,231 acres, including non-DOC plantings. A move to limit the use of the name Primitivo solely to DOC wines was rejected by producers in 2005. Growers will be grateful, for the success of IGT Primitivo has meant that higher prices are now being paid for the grapes. This in turn has ensured that the variety is being replanted after years in which it was only grubbed up, as the backbreaking work involved in cultivating the bush vines was not remunerative. It was presumably brought across the Adriatic sea from Croatia to Puglia in the 18th century. Its name derives from the latter part of the 18th century, when a priest in Gioia del Colle selected vines from promiscuous old vineyards and noted that fruit from these vines matured earlier than those from other vines. As a result, he called the variety primativo, from the Latin primativus, or ‘first to ripen’. In 1799, he planted these cuttings in a vineyard in Liponti, just outside Gioia del Colle. Historically, it suffered from a poorly conceived doc in Manduria: a minimum alcohol level of 14% for the regular production and higher alcohol for the liquoroso versions (both sweet and dry) which reach a leg-wobbling 18%. Puglians report it is highly prized as a high strength blending ingredient by many producers of amarone.
It is also DOC in its original homeland of Gioia del Colle. As an igtSalento wine, it has enjoyed a boom since the late 1990s, where careful selection and modern vinification can result in wines of great appeal and value.



Sometimes written Negro Amaro, dark-skinned southern Italian grape variety that fell victim to the EU vine pull schemeswith the total area planted falling from 31,000 ha/76,500 acres in 1990 to just 11,460 ha/28,318 acres by 2010. It is particularly associated with the eastern half of the Salento peninsula, in the provinces of Lecce and Brindisi, where it forms the base, blended with small proportions of Malvasia Nera and (not necessarily legally) the more structured Primitivo, for docs such as Salice Salentino, Copertino, Brindisi, Leverano, and Squinzano. It is later ripening than Primitivo, with chunkier tannins. It is also used to produce some lively rosé. For more details, see puglia. The name means ‘dark, bitter’ but the wines are sometimes a bit soft.