Their indigenous head-trained vines are between 70 and 100 years old, planted on deep red alluvial soils. Mark works closely with local growers as a substitute to the local coop, and he is well respected locally by setting criteria and standards.
Well-suited to the production of concentrated, fruity and spicy red varieties, Puglia is one of Italy’s warmest, most southerly regions. Its entire eastern side is one long coastline bordering the Adriatic Sea. About half way down, the region becomes the Salento Peninsula. This peninsula, bordered by water on three sides, receives moist, nighttime, sea breezes that bring a welcome cooling effect to the region, where little rain creates a challenging environment for its vines. In fact, the region is named for the Italian expression, “a pluvia,” meaning “lack of rain.”
Puglia’s Mediterranean climate and iron-rich, calcareous soils support the indigenous Primitivo, Negroamaro and Nero di Troia. Primitivo produces an inky, spicy, brambly and ripe red wine whose best expression comes from Manduria. Nero di Troia produces tannic, rustic reds from Castel del Monte DOC while Negroamaro, typically blended with Malvasia nera, plays a large part in may blends made throughout the peninsula.
Puglia produces a small amount of white wines as well, predominantly made of the fruity, Trebbiano Toscano, or light, Bombino bianco grapes.
While robust notes of dark fruit do characterize Negroamaro, its modern expression doesn’t quite live up to the dramatic meaning of its name, “bitter and black.” This dark-skinned southern Italian grape variety is found on the eastern half of the Salento peninsula, which is the backside of Italy’s “boot heel” and part of the Puglia region. Negroamaro forms the base, along with Malvasia Nera and Primitivo, for the best wine of the area, called Salice Salentino. It can also produce single varietal reds as well as some impressive aromatic rosé wines. Somm Secret—Negroamaro is truly an Italian wine – no propagation of the grape is found anywhere else outside of Italy.