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A taste of Puglia

There’s Italian wine and then there’s wine from Puglia, a region of the country which rivals Sicily for being the largest producer of Italian wine.

There’s Italian wine and then there’s wine from Puglia, a region of the country which rivals Sicily for being the largest producer of Italian wine. And beginning tomorrow, you can sample the famed nectar at the first annual Puglia Wine Week, which features 14 New York restaurants creating specialty menus and wine pairings (for a complete list of restaurants and wineries, go to www.winesofpuglia.com). Daniele Cirsone, director of marketing for wines and tourism of Puglia, gives us a tasty geography lesson.

Where exactly is the region of Puglia?


Puglia region is located in the heel of Italy’s boot, in the southeast of Italy. It’s been a natural bridge to the Orient culture since the ancient times — and by ancient, I mean for millennia.

What makes the wines from the region unique?

There are a lot of distinctive characteristics that identify Puglia wines as unique, but the main ones are: a millenia-old wine-making tradition — so a natural wine-making know-how — and an environment that’s extremely hospitable for vines, because only 1.5 percent of Puglia’s land is mountainous the other 98.5 percent is divided into level land and hilly regions. Puglia also has abundant sun exposure, few rainfalls and a natural breeze coming off the sea which purifies and enriches the vineyards.

How do the chefs make the menus Puglian-inspired? What are some delicacies from the region?

We’ve selected these restaurants for their chefs — they are Italian cuisine-passionate and have excellent skills. Specialties include seafood; the incredible variety of pasta, including orecchiette, which has the characteristic little-ear shape; the delicious capocollo di martina franca [cured pork meat]; the altamura bread [a famed Artisan bread]; 40 different types of vegetables; mozzarella di Gioia del Colle cheese; caciocavallo podolico cheese; and burratina di andria cheese.

 
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