In Praise of Puglia - Jon Un-Corked

In Praise of Puglia - Jon Un-Corked


In Praise of Puglia - Jon Un-Corked


The heel of Italy...

I first visited Puglia, the ‘heel’ of Italy in 1999 on our honeymoon back when it was relatively ‘undiscovered’. Our Italian is virtually non-existent, and back then, nobody spoke English in any of the shops or restaurants that we went to, and we loved it all the more for that! Despite it being our honeymoon, we did find time to visit a couple of wineries (well of course we did!), and what impressed me then and still does today is just how much more bang for your buck you get compared to those regions of lofty repute further North. 


An established holiday destination...

We visited again to celebrate out 20th wedding anniversary, just a few months before Covid closed everything down. Visually, it was pretty much exactly as we remembered it, but now, English is spoken almost everywhere – Puglia is clearly (& deservedly) a established holiday destination. We only had one winery visit lined up this time with Giuseppe Bino, chief wine maker at Masseria Borgo dei Trulli. We have been importing his wines for quite a few years now, and they are massively popular with our customers as well as ourselves!


Where are they based?...

They are based at Maruggio, close to the Ionian coastline, about an hour’s drive from our base. It took a little while to find, primarily because the place was a complete building site at that time! The winery was being completely, and sympathetically re-built to allow for visitors, Enotourism being increasingly popular in Italy, as elsewhere. Poor Giuseppe was operating out of a portacabin! That clearly didn’t detract from his enthusiasm for the task at hand. However, he makes quite a diverse range, almost exclusively from local, indigenous grape varieties, predominantly red, with Primitivo taking centre stage. Although not certified, the vines are grown organically, and Giuseppe seems just as at home amongst the vines as he is in the winery. He makes bold, flavoursome reds and crisp, zesty whites.


So, on to some recommendations…


Primitivo di Manduria DOP 2020  - Puglia, Italy

Primitivo, meaning early one, is an increasingly popular variety that is synonymous with Puglia, and although it is grown throughout the region, only Primitivo di Manduria carries the DOP protected quality designation. It also goes under the mantle of Zinfandel in the US and Crljenak Kaštelanski in Croatia! This wonderfully rich & voluptuous example is deep & vivid in appearance with heady aromas of ripe brambles with a hint of vanilla from the 8 months that 40% of the wine spent in oak. The palate offers a well-rounded, generous texture with a veritable taste explosion of ripe blackberries, damsons & sweet spiciness with a slight herbaceous edge. A superbly polished wine for the money, this wine makes friends very easily!

Trulli Primitivo DOP Manduria IT0056



IGP Salento Vermentino 2021 - Puglia, Italy

Vermentino is another variety that is deservedly gaining popularity. It has long been grown around the Mediterranean coast and beyond but historically, has gone under various synonyms such as Rolle in Provence and Favorita in Piemonte. More recently, Vermentino seems to be the banner that more growers / regions are opting for. It does vary in style – I have yet to taste a Tuscan example that I got on with for example, but this one is perfect summer drinking with all the vibrancy and freshness of a Kiwi Sauvignon but with a more restrained citrus fruit with a hint of peach and a refreshing lick of salinity kicking in on the finish.

Trulli Vermentino IT0081



Salice Salentino DOP 2020 - Puglia, Italy

This well-established DOP is spread across the provinces of Brindisi and Lecce in the south of Puglia, with the eponymous town to the north-west of the stunning Baroque city of Lecce. The principal grape here is Negroamaro which must constitute at least 75% of the wine, with the balance being any of a number of local varieties. This one is 90% with 10% Malvasia Nera completing the blend. Although it is grown in the same region as the more robust Primitivo, this is noticeably lighter and fresher with a slightly more rustic style. It offers earthy, blackcurrant aromas with notes of vanilla & mocha. There is a barely discernible oak influence, with a velvet-soft, balanced palate with just enough acidity to keep the wine fresh and very food-friendly – lovely stuff!

Trulli Salice Salentino IT0055



Zensa IGP Puglia Fiano 2020 - Puglia, Italy

Pronounced SENZA, the Italian definition of “without”, or “to do without”; no chemicals, no pesticides, only what Mother Nature has given. Fiano is usually encountered in neighbouring Campania but this one hails from an organic vineyard in the Salento region of Puglia. The fruit is picked towards the end of August to retain the grapes natural acidity and picking is done in the cool of the early morning to ensure that the grapes arrive at the winery in as fresh a condition as possible. This is another terrific, fresh, zesty summertime wine, this is pale in appearance with elegant floral & citrus aromas with a slightly herbaceous edge. It is crisp and refreshing with hints of tropical fruit and lemongrass on the palate, finishing long, dry and elegant.

Zensa Fiano IT0041



If you are interested in any of the aforementioned wines or would like to discuss your wine requirements with our wonderful team, simply email or give us a call on 01524 737 100.



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