Sunday, March 16, 2014

Puglia Wine and Land: quality looks ahead

International Wine Convention charts a new course for Italy's Apulia Wine Regions

Story and photo gallery by Dwight Casimere

BRINDISI, Italy--A silver serving platte-size of a full moon and a commanding alabaster manor rising in the night on a hill with a commanding view of the Mediterranean horizon, greeted a small group of wine writers and wine trade professionals attending the International Wine Convention, Puglia Wine and Land: quality looks ahead.

Sponsored by Movimento Turismo del Vino Puglia, it is a rare opportunity to meet the producers of some of the regions most interesting and outstanding wines and to taste a wide selection of them. The convention is an opportunity to appreciate the wine making tradition of the region and the region's value as a destination for wine tourism.

Puglia's historical sites are a marvel unto themselves. Combined with the unique flavor profile and affordability of its wines and its outstanding cheeses, olive oil and traditional foods, it is a must on any serious oenophiles destination list.

Over the next several days, participants will visit the home of some of the regions most important monuments in the area known as the Terre di Federico, so named after the Emperor Frederick II of Puglia, who constructed many castles, buildings and watchtowers throughout the region.

The visit will include a meeting with the owner of  the 70 year old winery Rivera, Sebastiano de Corato, who is also president of the Consorzio Movimento Turismo del Vino Puglia in Andria  The meeting will be followed by a tasting of his wines. The Terre di Federico is dominated by Nero di Troia, the "black grape of Troy." The full-bodied grape variety  inspires much of the DOCG and IGT wines of the region. Subsequent days will bring about tastings and visits to wineries in which the indigenous stars of Apulia grapes will shine; Primitivo, Nero di Troia and Negroamaro.  Each day's activities will include explorations of historic sites and cities, tastings of legendary wines and meetings with the region's top wine masters.

Other historic cities and wineries to be explored include Leporando and the winery Vigne and Vni, the town of Fasano and a tour of its historical center and a stop in Manduria and the winery Felline. A final dinner will be held in the town of Carovigno at the star-honored restaurant Gia sotto l'arco before retiring at the luxurious Masseria resort for a final night's rest.

The wines of Puglia are extremely food friendly. The cuisine and locally sourced meats, seafood, cheeses and produce all bring out the unique and sometimes subtle flavor variations of the  wines made  from indigenous grapes. All this, while basking under the Mediterranean sun at Massaria and its private beach and Aveda spa. It is a match made in heaven.

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