Friday, May 13, 2011

Puglia's Most Important DOC Wines

I don't believe that there's an objective standard for "the most important" DOC wines made in Puglia. Let's judge them anyway. Clearly, the best DOC wines in Puglia are the Salice Salentino Rosso DOC, the Primitivo di Manduria Rosso DOC, and the Castel del Monte Rosso DOC. The rules for making Puglia’s DOC wines can be difficult to track down, but I’ve found several sources that support the rules I’ve provided below.

Below I've included more detailed rules for each DOC, as well as some wine recommendations in case you're interested. The main reason I'm writing this post is that Puglia has many DOCs but few of them matter to U.S. wine lovers. I'd like to hear from anyone who thinks otherwise, especially if you have recommendations. I've heard good things about the Gravina DOC and the Locorotondo DOC but haven't tasted enough of them.


All of the following DOCs, like any good bar story, come in multiple versions. The red wines, as opposed to white or sweet, are by far the most important and are demarcated by the word “rosso” on wine labels. Also, all of the wines below must be produced and bottled in or around their respected towns, viz. Manduria, Salice Salentino, and Castel del Monte.


Watch Out: These rules change somewhat regularly, but the rules for grape percentages, alcohol percentages, and aging should be basically correct. You never know what the central or regional Italian government will whip up. If you have corrections, please send them in, and please include your sources.


Primitivo di Manduria DOC


The city of Manduria is in the western area of Puglia’s Salento peninsula. This DOC comes in dry and sweet versions. The sweet version is called “dolce.” The DOC is rarely made riserva, but a few wineries, principally Soloperto winery, have created a few. You’ll often seen non-DOC primitivo wines at U.S. wine stores, and this means that the wines were not produced or bottled in or around the city of Manduria and that their grapes were not necessarily grown in or around Manduria. These wines do not have to follow the rules outlined below. Primitivo is genetically identical to Zinfandel, but the wines should not be considered identical because of the environmental and other factors that impact flavor.


Rules for Making Primitivo di Manduria Rosso DOC


Grape: 100% Primitivo

Alcohol: at least 14%

Aging: at least 7 months


Recommended Primitivo di Manduria DOC wines:


Racemi “Felline” 14% alcohol

Masseria Pepe “Dunico” 15.8% alcohol

Consorzio Produttori Vini “Lirica” ??%

Consorzio Produttori Vini “Elegia” ??%

Attanasio DOC 16.5% alcohol

Pirro Varone 15% alcohol


Sources of DOC information: Vini del Salento, Puglia DOC


Salice Salentino DOC


The town of Salice Salentino is located 13 miles Lecce, putting it in the center of Puglia’s Salento peninsula. The sea is less than 20 miles on either side. The DOC features Puglia’s most important grape: Negroamaro.


Rules for Making Salice Salentino Rosso DOC


Grape: at least 80% Negroamaro. Malvasia nera di Lecce or Malvasia nera di Brindisi are often used to make up the remainder.

Alcohol: at least 12%

Aging:??


Recommended Salice Salentino Rosso DOC wines:


Apollonio 80 % Negroamaro 10% Malvasia Nera di Lecce 10% Malvasia Nera di Brindisi

Vecchia Torre 90% Negroamaro 10% Malvasia Nera

Cantine de Falco 80% Negroamaro 20% Malvasia Nera


Rules for Making Salice Salentino Rosso DOC Riserva


Grapes: at least 80% Negroamaro. Malvasia nera di Lecce or Malvasia nera di Brindisi are often used to make up the remainder.

Alcohol: at least 12.5%

Aging: at least 2 years


Recommended Salice Salentino Rosso Riserva DOC wines:


Candido “La Carta” 95% Negroamaro 5% Malvasia Nera

Ionis “Suavitas” ??%

Conti Zecca “Cantalupi Riserva” 80% Negroamaro 20% Malvasia Nera di Lecce

Leone de Castris 90% Negroamaro 10% Malvasia Nera di Lecce

Taurino 80% Negroamaro 20% Malvasia di Lecce


Sources of DOC information: Apulian Wines, Puglia DOC, La Vinium


Castel del Monte DOC


The Castel del Monte DOC comes in a huge number of versions, including a Chardonnay DOC, Sauvignon (Blanc) DOC, and other random grape varieties. Below are the rules for making the red wine Castel del Monte DOC. The red wine can feature one or all of three red grapes, and a single red wine can be 100% of only one of them.


Rules for Making Castel del Monte Rosso DOC


Grapes: At least 65% of the wine is composed of Nero di Troia, Montepulciano, or Aglianico. Any red grape grown in the region can make up the remainder.

Alcohol: at least 12%

Aging: ??


Recommended Castel del Monte DOC Wines:


Tormaresca “Bocco di Lupo” 100% Aglianico

Tormaresca “Trentangeli” 65% Aglianico 25% Cabernet Sauvignon 10% Syrah

Rivera “Cappellaccio” 100% Aglianico

Torrevento “Bolonero” 70% Nero di Troia 30% Aglianico

Santa Lucia “Vigna Del Melograno 100% Nero di Troia


Rules for Making Castel del Monte Rosso Riserva DOC


Grape: a At least 65% of the wine is composed of Nero di Troia, Montepulciano, or Aglianico. Any red grape grown in the region can make up the remainder.

Alcohol: at least 12.5%

Aging: at least two years


Recommended Castel del Monte Riserva DOC:


Rivera “Il Falcone” 70% Nero di Troia 30% Montepulciano

Torrevento “Vigna Pedale” 100% Nero di Troia

Santa Lucia “Le More” 100% Nero di Troia


Sources of DOC information: Corriere della Sera, Vini del Salento, Apulian Wines, La Vinium


The white wine Castel del Monte DOC or Castel del Monte Bianco DOC, can feature the white grapes pampanuto or bombino bianco. The rosé is primarily composed of the nero di troia and/or bombino nero grapes.

3 comments:

fabio said...

Hi Mattie, have you heard about the new and first Puglia DOCG Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale? I am going to post on Twitter this post ;)

Mattie John Bamman said...

Yo Fabio! I have heard about the Primitivo DOCG but, sadly, I'm not very excited. I find that I vastly prefer the dry red wine to sweet.

fabio said...

It's what I think. Tt was a surprise for me to see a sweet primitivo DOCG instead of the great dry version!

New Article on Eater.com: Why Haven’t American Truffles Taken Root Yet?

Originally published on Eater.com Written by Mattie John Bamman At a private party in Eugene, Oregon earlier this year, the night’s c...