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The Wines of Puglia

Wines of PugliaPuglia’s changed….going outside its co-op comfort zone to become one of the South’s most striking viticultural outposts. While it continues to develop and realize its inherent potential beyond a prodigious turnout, it is currently thriving in the high-quality value genre—maintaining impressive numbers while doing so, given fairly moderate production costs. Italy’s heel is getting ever higher, stepping out to claim (some stomping) ground among the well-heeled further up the Boot.

The generous number of Puglian DOCs ostensibly conflicts with the region’s rather limited output of classified wine. Yet, viewed from another perspective, these designations portend and accommodate future productions. As Puglia’s heightened values are mainly projected through its red wine production, many will likely be represented by red, yet (some whites have begun to assert their colors as well) the whites may begin to assert their colors as well.
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Tormaresca Castel del Monte Rosso Trentangeli 2012 750ml
Tormaresca Castel del Monte Rosso Trentangeli 2012 750ml
Price: $24.99

This might be your new go-to red! Brambly berries and succulent black fruits dance with a mélange of peppery spices, warm leather, sun-soaked earth, pressed violets, cinnamon and pencil lead in this high-power, intense ’12 Trentangeli. With its dusty tannins, unfolding complexity, and sturdy mineral spine, this wine marries Super-Tuscan elegance with Aglianico’s brooding profile. A blend of organically grown 70% Aglianico, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Syrah deriving from the Bocca di Lupo estate in Minervino Murge, grapes ferment in temperature-controlled stainless steel for about two weeks, and the wine ages in barrels for a year, followed by eight months of bottle rest before release. This bottling from Antinori’s Puglian estate way over-delivers on its modest price point, and it’ll be delicious over both the near and the medium term!
Tormaresca Chardonnay Pietrabianca 2013 750ml
Tormaresca Chardonnay Pietrabianca 2013 750ml
Price: $25.99
Currently Unavailable.

Nimble and radiant, the ’13 Chardonnay Pietrabianca bursts with sappy stone, crisp orchard, and bright citrus fruits, all framed by pressed white flower petals, crushed volcanic rocks and a kiss of baking spices. This wine almost skips across the palate, layering its sweet inner perfume on a backdrop of savory minerality; it’s a delicious, compelling Puglian white for near or mid-term drinking. This organically grown blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Fiano derives from Tormaresca’s Bocca di Lupo holdings in Minervino Murge. Each grape varietal ferments separately in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and while the Fiano wine ages in stainless steel, the Chardonnay wine ages in barrique for five months; then the wine is blended and aged in stainless steel for six months before release.
Mille Una Bacmione 2007 750ml
Mille Una Bacmione 2007 750ml
Price: $39.99

This mono-varietal Primitivo matches its supple, chewy tannins with its sweet fruit to create a drinking experience that is the epitome of rustic elegance. Brambly fruits dance on a bed of sun-warmed earth, crushed flower petals, cocoa powder, warm spices, and Christmas cake in this intense yet lively ’07 Bacmione. Ideal to accompany roasted meats, aged cheeses and game, this Primitivo derives from vines aged sixty years or more; the wine ages in oak for six months before bottling.
Tormaresca Bocca di Lupo Castel del Monte 2011 750ml
Tormaresca Bocca di Lupo Castel del Monte 2011 750ml
Price: $54.99
Currently Unavailable.

Deep red in the glass, this mono-varietal Aglianico bursts with brambly red and blue fruits that lie on a foundation of saddle leather, grilled herbs, balsam, dried plums, scorched earth, and toasted nuts. Caressing yet bold, this ’11 wine piques the cheeks with chewy tannins, and its sweet inner perfume morphs into a finish that’s laden with savory minerals. Nicely balanced and beautifully structured, the ’11 Bocca di Lupo shows tremendous aging potential. After allowing the Aglianico grapes to ripen fully, Tormaresca vinifies them in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and the wine ferments in barrique for fifteen months and ages in the bottle for two years before release.
Tormaresca Bocca di Lupo Castel del Monte 2012 750ml
Tormaresca Bocca di Lupo Castel del Monte 2012 750ml
Price: $54.99

The ’12 Bocca di Lupo explodes from the glass in a shower of brambly blue fruits, licorice, sun-warmed earth, new saddle leather, violet petals and baking spices. Textured and satisfying, this wine fills the mouth and suffuses the palate with a weighty feel, electric acidity and chewy, elegant tannins. As delicious as this Antinori bottling is right now, it has the stuffing to age for decades, growing mellow and silky with maturity. After allowing the Aglianico grapes to ripen fully, Tormaresca vinifies them in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and the wine ferments in barrique for fifteen months and ages in the bottle for two years before release. While Aglianico frequently requires time in the cellar before enjoyment, this bottle from Antinori's Tormaresca allows for earlier approachability, yet it sacrifices nothing to longevity.
Tormaresca Bocca di Lupo Castel del Monte 2010 750ml
Tormaresca Bocca di Lupo Castel del Monte 2010 750ml
Price: $76.99

Finessed, elegant and age-worthy, the ’10 Bocca di Lupo may be the best bottling yet. Bright cherries and brambly berries dance with dried fruit, fresh-cut herbs, tea leaves, licorice, scorched earth and wildflowers in this mono-varietal Aglianico from Antinori. Round yet structured, the ’10 bottling balances its chewy tannins with vibrant acidity, displaying a marvelous inner perfume as this balanced, harmonious wine builds to an intense, smoky crescendo. After allowing the Aglianico grapes to ripen fully, Tormaresca vinifies them in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and the wine ferments in barrique for fifteen months and ages in the bottle for two years before release.
Tormaresca Bocca di Lupo Castel del Monte 2006 750ml
Tormaresca Bocca di Lupo Castel del Monte 2006 750ml
Price: $82.99

Peppery spices, crushed wildflowers, licorice, pencil lead and tarry earth frame the succulent red and blue fruits in this broad-shouldered, aromatic and vibrant ’06 Bocca di Lupo. At once floral and smoky, this wine uncoils on the palate to reveal copious dry extract, fine-grained tannins, and a sweet inner perfume. Intense minerality and lovely acidity keep this full-bodied wine racy and seductive--you can drink this wine now or cellar for a decade! After allowing the Aglianico grapes to ripen fully, Tormaresca vinifies them in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and the wine ferments in barrique for fifteen months and ages in the bottle for two years before release. While Aglianico frequently requires time in the cellar before enjoyment, this bottle from Antinori's Tormaresca allows for earlier approachability, yet it sacrifices nothing in longevity.
Antonio Ferrari Il Barone 1949 750ml
Antonio Ferrari Il Barone 1949 750ml
Price: $119.00
Currently Unavailable

It's difficult not to use superlatives or the word "brooding" when describing the rare, ineffable, fairytale wines of Antonio Ferrari. They are irrationally gorgeous wines. In the glass, this ’49 Il Barone, a mono-varietal Primitivo, shows a blackish ruby that glints with garnet highlights. It's shockingly fresh, however, with just a touch of oxidation in its notes of black cherries, sweet Asian spices, tamarind, chocolate and espresso. The mellifluous silkiness is cut with bitter almond, making it a wine you'll want to take your time sipping.
Antonio Ferrari Solaria Jonica 1959 500ml
Antonio Ferrari Solaria Jonica 1959 500ml
Price: $149.00

It's the child of the hottest summer on record in Puglia, the skills of Piemonte master winemaker Antonio Ferrari, and sheer luck. Somewhere between a Recioto and a Port, Solaria Jonica's palate bursts with flavors of raisins, chocolate and licorice. The stunning, lavish, ruby-red Solaria Jonica has fifty years of age on it, yet it remains astoundingly vibrant, boasting aromas of blackberries and espresso. Rich, luscious, concentrated and warm, this wine needs to be tasted to be believed and sipped slowly to be appreciated.