Located in the heel of southern Italy’s boot, Puglia (known as Apulia in English) is undergoing a renaissance in wine production. Unfamiliar to many wine drinkers, the region is proving to be a great source of well-made wines with amazing value. These are a few of my notes after a recent tasting of this gem of Italian wines.
Tormaresca, the estate of the Antinori family in Puglia, means “Tower by the Sea.” The family has two properties in Puglia, one in the south named the Salento region and the other in the north, located in Castel del Monte. The Puglia region has a rich history of culture and gastronomy integrally linked to the sea.
The Antinori family built Tormaresca in 1998, with the goal of creating wines that would be the finest expression of the region’s viticulture. The family, whose winemaking roots date to the 14th century, hopes that by investing in this region and emphasizing the strength of the grapes growing naturally there, that the world will be reacquainted with the quality, integrity and consistency of the areas’ wines. Blending technological innovation with centuries-old vinification techniques, the Antinoris are providing a modern interpretation of vines as old as the land they grow on.
- 2011 Tormaresca Neprica, Italy (about $12 retail)
At first glance of the label I thought I was going to taste a grape named Neprica I’d never tried. It turns out it isn’t the name of a single grape but an acronym for a blend of grapes. It’s from the first letters of each varietal: NEgroamaro (40 percent), PRImitivo, also known as zinfandel (30 percent), and CAbernet sauvignon (30 percent). Most of the grapes are familiar but Negroamaro is an indigenous grape. This trio makes for a robust red wine that pairs easily with food, like most Italian wines.THE SPLURGE
- Tormaresca Torcicoda IGT, Italy (about $22 retail)
Those who adore California zinfandel will be a huge fan of this wine. It’s 100 percent Primitivo and is layered with all the spices, fruits and full-bodied flavors you would expect. This grape has been growing in southern Italy for centuries.