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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 Calafuria Rosato 2016 750ml
Tormaresca Calafuria Rosato 2016 750ml
Price: $16.99

A delicate rose petal pink in the glass, this ’16 Calafuria Rosato reflects its classic Mediterranean climate in its aromatics, charming palate, delightful balance, and unusual persistence. Juicy strawberries and plums dance with wildflowers, underbrush, citrus zest and licorice in this refreshing wine that culminates with a delicately bitter finish. The Negroamaro grapes for this wine derive from Tormaresca’s holdings in San Pietro Vernotico; grapes ferment and age in temperature-controlled stainless steel, and the wine rests in bottle for four months before release.
Tormaresca Primitivo Torcicoda 2013 750ml
Tormaresca Primitivo Torcicoda 2013 750ml
Price: $19.99

Brooding and powerful, this ’13 Primitivo wraps its succulent cherries and plums in spices, warm cigar wrapper, melted chocolate, violet petals and underbrush. This is a supple, elegant yet muscular wine that balances its sweet fruits with savory elements, its alcohol with vibrant acidity, and its chewy tannins with a silky, mineral-laden mouth-feel. It’s a terrific value at its under $20 price point! Deriving from old-vine Primitivo grown in Tormaresca’s San Pietro Vernotico holdings, the grapes for this wine ferment in stainless steel for about two weeks, and the wine enjoys malolactic fermentation and ten months of aging in oak barrels, resting for eight months in bottle before release.
Mille Una Majara Primitivo 2013 750ml
Mille Una Majara Primitivo 2013 750ml
Price: $21.99

Capturing Primitivo’s earth-inflected, black fruit-driven flavor profile, Mille Una’s Majara is a classic example of a Puglian Primitivo, and priced under $22, it’s a steal! Brambly blue and black fruits, spice and underbrush burst from the glass, and they’re underlain by a really nice minerality, silky chocolate tones, and piquant notes of fresh-cut herbs. Deriving from Mille Una’s plot of 35-40-year-old Primitivo vines grown in mineral-rich calcareous soils, the grapes for this wine ferment with only natural yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel; the wine ages in barrique for three months, followed by nine months in stainless steel tanks before bottling. This ’13 Primitivo is a velvety and full-bodied wine that’s both structured and approachable--it might be your new go-to red!
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

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

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.
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.