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Young Innovators Are Raising Puglian Wines’ Quality and Image

Cantine Menhir Salento

Read any commentary on the wines of Puglia on the heel of Italy and you’ll mostly find comments like “emerging wine region” and “still focused on bulk wine.” The most recent edition of the Oxford Companion to Wine sniffs that, “what Puglia urgently needs is to ensure the survival of its centenarian bush vines and most interesting indigenous varieties, and, ideally, a viticultural in winemaking institute . . . to shape its future.”

There is some truth to that statement, except its about ten years out of date. Young vintners and new plantings in this, the most southern of Italian wine region, have quickly moved to improve both the wines and their image. Since Puglia, Southern Italy’s wealthiest region, produces the largest amount of the country’s wines—17%–and the impetus to produce better wines is now paramount, despite controversial Italian wine laws that deny producers a D.O.C. appellation if they want to try something innovative; instead those producers must label their wines under the I.G.T tag, which basically means simple table wine.

Cantine Menhir Salento

One of the leading innovators in Puglia today, along with wineries like Carvenea, Feudo di San Croce, Polvanera and…

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