Betty's Wine Musings

Wine from Puglia (from “Apulia” — ‘without rain’) is considered honest because of its unpretentious, undemanding ability to thrive in a hot, dry, often difficult environment. Puglia is one of Italy’s consistently hottest and driest regions. This region occupies the lower end of Italy, from the ‘spur’ to the ‘heel.’ as it were, divided into six provinces.

According to Lonely Planet, “Puglia is comprised of sun-bleached landscapes, silver olive groves, picturesque seascapes, and memorable hilltop and coastal towns. It is a lush, largely flat farming region, skirted by a long coast that alternates between glittering limestone precipices and long sandy beaches… In a land where the cuisine is all-important, Puglia’s cucina povera (peasant cooking) is legendary. Olive oil, grapes, tomatoes, eggplants, artichokes, peppers, salami, mushrooms, olives and fresh seafood strain its table.”

Wine from Puglia: Aleatico

The featured Puglian red varietal I chose is Aleatico, a member of the Muscat family. Although the grape’s origin is arguably either native to Puglia or a Greek import (Bari, Puglia’s most famous port, is a straight shot across from Athens), Aleatico is international today. It is grown in many places, including Australia, Chile, and most famously the Tuscan island of Napoleon’s exile, Elba.

Because the sugars develop more in Puglia’s heat and dryness, Italian Aleatico tends to be produced as a sweeter wine, and is often fortified with grain alcohol.

In its youth, Aleatico’s predominant flavors are rose and lychee. After aging for 10 to 15 years, the wine’s sweet richness continues to develop, as the more delicate early notes decrease.

Aleatico pairs beautifully with traditional Italian desserts such as walnuts, pears and goat cheese drizzled with honey.

Wine from Puglia: Bombino Bianco

A native Puglian wine with many personalities is Bombino Bianco (“little white bomb”), a high yielding, sturdy grape that is resistant to many plagues deadly to other vines.

Bombino Bianco is one white wine with many faces. Because Bombino is a fairly neutral varietal, you may liken it to your favorite supporting actor — the one that always makes the star look good. Bombino Bianco can be found as a blending grape in many wines, as part of vermouth, or in sweet, semi-sweet or dry sparkling wines. It is particularly welcome in Germany where it’s used in their less expensive sparkler, Sekt.

While there are not many standalone Bombino wines, if you do find one, don’t expect a bomb (in either the good or bad sense of the word). Instead, expect a youthful wine with subtle citrus tones.

This wine would pair nicely with a white fish or creamy potato dish. As pleasant as it may be, Bombino is not recommended for aging, or even as a “next day” wine. According to Fringe Wine, the flavors will deteriorate even overnight. So drink it up the moment you get it.

Cin Cin!

As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!

Betty Kaufman, WineShop At Home

As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!

Cheers, Betty Kaufman
WineShop At Home

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  1. Most of Italian Aleatico is sweet, not only Apulian ones. Notable exceptions are the Vernaccia Nera di Pergola, local name of the A. in the surroundings of the village of Pergola, close to the Apennines, in the Marche region, and the Rosé made by La Piana estate in the small Tuscan island of Capraia. Definitely A. enters in the blend (some times it is 100% of it) of some other dry Rosés, and You can find a bit of A. in some Vinsanto Occhio di Pernice produced from old vineyards in the center of Tuscany. But of course these are once again sweet wines.
    Only in the A. di Gradoli DOC from North of Lazio You can find good examples of a fortified A. Usually, only the cheapest and less interesting A.s are fortified: the sugar content of the berries is consistent enough not to be committed to stop fermentation through adding alcohol to retain sweetness. In fact, Apulian peculiarity is that sometimes with such a high sugar level fermentation stops naturally: this because when the juice fermenting has already fetched a high alcohol proof, then yeasts are not any more able to continue to work (transforming the remaining sugar in alcohol); thus, the wine obtained results sweet (because of the residual sugar not exploited). If my explanation looks complicated, I apologize, it depends by my English 🙂 Anyway, such “event” much more often occurs with Primitivo grapes (Primitivo Dolce Naturale, “natural sweet”).
    Hardly A. is consumed so old as You have stated. Most of times it is drunk within a few (2-3) years from the harvest, and You do not find so many labels with some years of barrel aging on the market. It can smell of the fruit of some Mediterranean bushes, and it earns a refreshing balsamic hint when bunches are not dried out at the direct sun exposure, but inside rooms. In terms of food matching, despite of its slight tannic character it can work really well with some chocolate cakes.
    Riccardo Margheri

  2. “Sekt” is the indication You find practically on ANY btl of German sparkling wine, not only the cheap crap ones, whatever the origin of the grapes (not only Bombino Bianco and not only form Puglia). When You see the indication “Deutscher Sekt” it means the wineis made form German grapes.
    Riccardo Margheri

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