Wines of Apulia

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Written By Gilberto Mattei

The wines of Apulia: Apulian DOC, DOCG and IGT wines

wines in Apulia are one of the most important economic resources of the entire region.

Wine production in Apulia is truly remarkable. Every year, more than six million hectolitres of wine are produced, of which more than five hundred thousand are DOC wines. All this is mainly due to an absolutely favourable geographical position that has allowed Apulia to play a leading role in wine production since ancient times.

Wine production areas in Apulia

The wine growing areas in Apulia can be fairly easily divided into Daunia, Salento, Murgia and Terra di Bari. Daunia is mostly located in the province of Foggia and has vineyards on both hills and plains. The winter rain and summer climate convinced the ancient Dauni to establish the first grape plantations here. The land of Bari, on the other hand, offers a production of more than one million hectolitres of wine in Apulia from cultivations mainly in the plains. In the Murgia are the cultivations of Locorotondo and Martina Franca. In the Salento region, on the other hand, red wines from Malvasia and Negroamaro grapes are the mainstay. This results in Apulian wines such as Salice Salentino and Matino.

Wines in Apulia and their evolution

Although we have said that wine in Apulia represents an invaluable asset for the entire region, the very quality of Apulian wines has long been questioned, relegating them to a secondary role on the national and international scene. In recent years, wines in Apulia have undergone a revaluation and today their undeniable and unique characteristics are largely recognised.


The DOC wines of Apulia

Let us now say a few words about the wines of Apulia that have obtained the designation of controlled origin. To date, there are about eighty Apulian DOC wines that can be summarised in twenty-five different denominations, the latest of which is Galatina DOC. A truly huge quantity that once again testifies to the region's oenological heritage.


Apulia is regarded as the wine cellar of Italy. It supplies grapes, must and wine to many regions in the north and centre, while exporting largely abroad.


The honour of the first mention goes to Primitivo, a red wine with a singular character. It takes its name from the ease with which it reaches drinking age - Primitivo stands for primitive - and it is also very long-lived. It can be dry, amabile, even sweet; it reveals a high alcohol content and a dense texture. Maturation, more or less prolonged, refines it and elevates it to the rank of roast drink. The vine can be found almost everywhere in the region, but it finds its best terrain in Gioia del Colle, Santéramo in Colle and Martina Franca, where it expresses a harmonious product with a 'bouquet' in which a vague scent of asperula can be detected. The late Primitivo - capable of reaching up to one hundred years of age, as Giulio Cesare Viola revealed - is well suited to second courses.

Another vigorous red is Barletta, often called upon to reinforce dull wines. It too is aged and loses its congenital roughness to become an excellent roast wine. Manduria undergoes a curious metamorphosis; as soon as it is racked, it is used for blending, at two years it tends to resemble Aleatico, at four it loses its sweetness to become baroque, and at seven it acquires its own physiognomy: soft, velvety, with a bitter edge and a very pleasant 'bouquet'.


Bitter mouthfeel

A hint of bitterness characterises many of the region's wines; we find it in the Rosso di Brindisi, in the excellent Rosato del Salento made from must flower, in the reds and rosés named after Castel del Monte, the manor house built near Andria by Frederick II, in the reds and rosés of San Severo, noble in texture and delicate in bouquet, in Santo Stefano and Torre Quarto. In recent years, the Apulian people have perfected the art of making rosé wines, producing products of great class, beautiful drinkability and high stimulating power.

The whites generally show a high degree of finesse. The San Severo white, Martina Franca, Ostuni, Alberobello, Locorotondo, very clear, dry, acidulous, flowing, and the aromatic Malvasie di Brindisi, Nòvoli and Gallipoli are magnificent table companions to mullet, gilthead bream, oysters, snappers.


Second Canteens

The range of second-course wines consists of the famous Moscato di Trani, better known perhaps abroad than in Italy, from Moscato del Salento, Moscato rosso or d'Amburgo, and Aleatico, quite different from its namesakes produced in other parts of Italy; in fact, it has a slightly pronounced sweet flavour, a colour tending towards orange, and an alcohol content of between sixteen and eighteen degrees.

The wines of Apulia are:

  • Locorotondo
  • Primitivo di Manduria
  • Castel del Monte
  • Rosé of Apulia
  • Salice salentino
  • Brindisi
  • Aleatico di Puglia
  • Alezio
  • Cacc'e Mmitte of Lucera
  • Copertino
  • Galatina Negroamaro
  • Gioia del Colle Primitivo
  • Gravina
  • Leverano
  • Lizzano Malvasia Nera
  • Martina Franca
  • Matino
  • Muscat of Trani
  • Nardò
  • Orta Nova
  • Ostuni Ottavianello
  • Barletta Red
  • Red Canosa
  • Red of Cerignola
  • San Severo
  • Squinzano


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