the last of the winter wine

the last of the winter wine

As the cold weather finally comes to an end, one last look at some full-on red wines guaranteed to blow away any lingering chill. On paper at least, Puglia (or Apulia if you prefer) has a lot going for it; some really good soils for growing grapes; a few interesting local grape varieties; and plenty of warm, dry sunny weather, tempered by cooling maritime winds.

And yet, for too long Puglia was a prime example of the problems that beset many European wine regions; a massive over-production of poor quality wine from large co-operatives, supplied by small farmers relying on handouts from the Italian government or the EU to survive. 

Puglia is all about two liquids; olive oil and wine. The region produces nearly half of all Italian olive oil. It is also responsible for 700 million litres of wine, mostly red wine each year – that is over 930 million bottles of wine, although much never gets anywhere near a bottle.

In the past most of it was was distilled into industrial alcohol or used to make vermouth. Many locals would add that a lot was illegally shipped in tankers to be blended into wines from more famous regions further north.

In recent years, great efforts have been made to improve quality. As Puglia shakes…

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