Wine52 explore the heel of Italy this month (June 2022)
By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr
Puglia, the region which forms the "heel" of the "boot"of Italy, is right down in the South on the east coast and the Adriatic Sea, coast opposite Albania and the Greek Island of Corfu.
It is a beautiful, unspoilt and historic area, with wines being made there by the Greeks and Romans for thousands of years. Cooled by the coastal breezes, there are also some historic grape varieties, found by winemakers and drinkers over the centuries to make the best wine in the hot climate, with cool sea breezes.
The first white from Wine52, is called Leuca Sia, probably named after the pilgrimage town of Santa Maria di Leuca, which sits across the Adriatic from Corfu. Made from Malvasia, which is grown a lot around the Adriatic and makes a dry light refreshingly crisp white wine with floral and ripe citrus aromas. The 2021 vintage makes the perfect aperitivo or good with fish or salads.
The second white is from a grape called Falanghina. Another ancient grape, grown up in the cooler hills for the best wines, and a little further north in Calabria. But this Wine52 wine is called A Tarallucca e Vino. Tarallucca are a local crunchy biscuity parmesan snack, and I can see why they put this in the name, as it would pair so well with this bright citrusy, orange peel aromas in this wine.
The two reds are both typical of the sweet and rich berry fruit of the south. The first called Meridiano 2021, is an "appassito", or made from grapes left on the vines to shrivel and concentrate the sugars and flavours, so long as the birds don't get the grapes! This is an ancient technique to get more intense fruit, and this wine is not fermented totally dry, so there is a little fruit sweetness there, which has the same gastronomic affect as using red current jelly with lamb, or sweet chutney with cold meats. A big juicy wine.
The second red, another young fresh 2021, is called Pizzicarella, and is made from the Nero di Troia grape. This is good deep complex wine with lots of leather, dark fruit and a touch of oak. It has a whopping 14.5% alcohol which gives it further weight. The ideal red meat barbecued wine for summer.
So another interesting selection from Wine52. All these wines are shipped in bulk in temperature-controlled containers under careful supervision and bottled by Greencroft Bottlers in the UK. This seriously reduces the carbon footprint of shipping heavy already bottled wine, so I very much approve. And Greencroft do an excellent bottling job.