Italy is home to some of the world’s best wine. But let’s face it, most of us only know a drop in the bucket of the five hundred indigenous grape varieties in Italy. I am fortunate to have enjoyed wines from each of Italy’s wine regions. Like you, I enjoy the popular wines of Chianti, Brunello, Amarone, and Barolo to name a few. However, my exploration has also lead me to discover lesser known Italian wines that are as delicious as the better known wines and typically less expensive. Let’s dive into some of these fun varieties from Puglia.
Masseria Trullo di Pezza winery is located in the Province of Taranto in Puglia. It is located on the south eastern inside of the “heel” on the Ionian Sea in the Mediterranean Ocean. It is a winery owned and operated by two sisters, Marika and Simona Lacaita, whose focus is on crafting high quality organic wines with respect to nature and sustainable agriculture. Their 100 hectare vineyard contains indigenous grapes and ancient olive trees. The wines of Trullo di Pezza seek to balance tradition and character. Their portfolio features many of the indigenous ancient grapes of Puglia. Here are four:
Negroamaro: a dark skinned red grape variety that has been growing in Puglia thousands of years, known to produce wines of deep color, medium body and tannins, dark berry flavors with rich notes of spices that include cinnamon, cloves, and all-spice, as well as a pleasing earthiness; if you like big Italian red but not their price tag Negroamaro is a wine for you! It is one of my favorite, Puglian grapes, along with Nero di Troia and Susumaniello.
2015 Masseria Trullo di Pezza Speziale Negroamaro Rosato Salento IGP: 100% Negroamaro; bright fuchsia in the glass; lively notes of red cherries, strawberries, and savory herbal notes; a fuller body rosé on the palate, rich and textural, a bit bolder to stand up to heartier meals but still light enough to sip and enjoy any time of year; great paired with hearty cheeses, fish, and pizza. I have had a few Negroamaro rosés, this one is lovely.
Aglianico: a red grape variety native to southern Italy, a full-body red wine with musky berry notes, firm tannins, and nice aging potential, in youth tannic and concentrated, with age tannins mellow and fruit becomes more apparent.
2014 Masseria Trullo di Pezza Scarfoglio Aglianico Salento IGP: Crafted of 100% Aglianico, rustic Italian nose with aromas of red fruits, spice, and a toasted walnut finish; a big wine for certain, but a wine I enjoy, full-body, ripe tannins, give some air by decanting in its youth or even open the day before consuming, with age this wine will sing beautifully because it is well-structured and balanced, pair with hearty Italian cuisine.
Primitivo: Inky, tannic red grapes that produce a full body wine; an early ripening grape gives way to its name, primi = 1st in Italian, traditionally a wine high in tannins and alcohol with intense flavors and deep inky color, believed to actually originate across the Adriatic in Croatia, Primitivo has been growing in Puglia for centuries, it is known in the US as Zinfandel.
2014 Masseria Trullo di Pezza Mezzapezza Primitivo Salento IGP: Crafted of 100% Primitivo; deep purple in the glass; dark cherries, blackberries, plums, warm spice notes, fresh tobacco leaves, and a bit of violets fill the nose and palate, after an hour decant wine was smooth and silky on the palate, complex and juicy, well-structured, quite pleasing, pair with hearty Italian cuisine and it will shine.
2014 Masseria Trullo di Pezza Licurti Primitivo di Manduria DOC: Crafted of 100% Primitivo di Manduria; deep garnet with piercing scarlet hues; rich notes of ripe cherries, plums, pomegranates, warm spice notes, dusty cocoa, and damp tobacco leaves fill the nose and palate; juicy and concentrated with more complexity due to 6 months aging in French oak, an added depth to texture on the palate; well-structured, full-body, lingering finish.
*Disclaimer: I received these wines as media samples. All thought and opinion are my own.
To learn more about Masseria Trullo di Pezza, view their entire portfolio of wines, and order these wines for yourself please visit their web site, they do ship wine. Furthermore, if you want to explore Puglia and these indigenous grapes yourself you can stay at Masseria Trullo di Pezza’s new resort!
Have you ever had Negroamaro, Aglianico, or Primitivo? Do you enjoy these varieties of wine? What are some of your other favorite lesser known Italian varieties?
My Song Selection: Much like these lesser-known wines of Puglia, the music world is comprised of plenty of very popular yet lesser-known artists. Here is an alt-dance/punk band from Sacramento that I really like. There name is !!! (commonly pronounced chk chk chk)…
Get your own bottle of wine from Puglia and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!