We are holidaying in Puglia at the end of this month and would welcome some suggestions for wine tours/wineries to visit. Unfortunately the Society’s list of wineries in Southern Italy has only one in Puglia, and that doesn’t have a functioning website. Has anyone had any particularly good visits, please?
We went to Puglia some years back with a wine group. We hired a coach and had got invitations to wineries, from a large co-operative to small family owned ones.
I thought wine tourism in Puglia was non-existent. there was no signage and our coach driver had trouble finding wineries in the countryside even with sat-nav.
I couldn’t see any indication of expecting casual visitors - no signs outside wineries inviting one to come in and taste like you see in other wine regions, no flags or nameboards outside to help one find the right place.
The Italian tour guide/interpreter that the law required we have couldn’t understand why we wanted to visit wineries and also couldn’t translate wine terms such as the stainless steel tanks etc.
Hopefully things have improved in the past few years…….
PS - Puglia is large, we stayed at two sites in order to visit wineries. Do you intend having a base?
I won’t be recommending wine here, but I shall recommend some reading material - the Aurelio Zen books by Michael Didbin are quite wonderful for a sense of place.
Cosi Fan Tutti is set in Naples, and each book takes in a different area of Italy - one of the best is set in Venice, where the character Zen hails from. It talks of the Venitian dialect from Chioggia ‘swirling like muddy water’ as I remember.
One of them is set in Barolo / Barbaresco and revolves around a murder in a vineyard.
Thanks. We are moving around between several spots. We start just outside Noci, then we have Matera (actually just over the border from Puglia), then Lizzano, Otranto and Monopoli.
I’ve actually read the one set in Barolo/Barbaresco. But does he have one in Puglia?
Here’s a link to all of them
I don’t think so - but there are really good ones covering a good bit of Italy - sometimes enjoying a very arch relationship with the sense of place. Back to Bologna has a distinctly Umberto Eco feel, for example. Naples and Sicily feature in some, so that might be the closest.
In Matera, if you can drag yourself away from one of Europe’s greatest cityscapes, try to visit the Tenuta Parco Monaci. Really good wines, mostly Primitivo I think, but with real style as well as power (and a fascinating contrast to Salento Primitivo!)
If you’re only going that far south, you aren’t going to Puglia’s main quality wine region, Salento. Not sure what to suggest (I haven’t visited wineries in Puglia), but maybe the Castel del Monte DOC (mostly Nero di Troia)?
Wines from Puglia can be trulli scrumptious … I’ll get my coat on my way out!!
Thanks. We are going to stay in Otranto. Do you think we need to go further South still?
I don’t wish to know that. Kindly leave the cellar.
Well, I didn’t sugest that as it’s quite a way, and obviously you’d want to spend time in Lecce too., and probably visit some of the fabulous beaches down towards the cape.
Unless you really want to major on wine I reckon the above would be sufficient myself. In Castel di Monte I like Castel di Salve. Cant think of any Nero di Troia producers of the top of my head, but there have been a few I’ve enjpoyed. Paolo Perilli (??) further north near Lucera is interesting too.
I think the previous poster was riht in saying that wineries aren’t set up for visits., despite the burgeoning wine scene. Do email in advance when you’ve decided where you want to go.
This request came up once before? I think, anyway I have spent some time in the area, as far as wineries go they are generally well hidden and as others have said not many are set up for visitors, but it is changing, two I did visit and are worthwhile…
The inland area is flat and purely agricultural, sort of fenland with sun and olive trees, though the olive trees are currently suffering from a serious blight.
The eastern coastline has lovely beaches but little else other than some towns worth visiting, Ostuni in the north, just inland the white town, the beautiful Polignano a Mare,
Bari the old town and the Gargano peninsula.
Other towns, and these are only the ones I have been to include Lecce the baroque town, Matera, Gallipoli near the Gargano peninsula, Monopoli and the Castellana caves and Otranto, the coast on the southern edge along from Otranto is spectacular and has several grottoes .
There are in some of the towns, sadly I have no addresses some very good wine shops.
The trulli town of Alberobello is worth going to for the trulli but little else, the main town is pretty drab.
I should have added, if you go to Polignano a Mare in the middle of June there is an amazing festival with huge trellis’s round the main square all lit at night and a brass band competition of the highest quality, plus a lot of street food stalls and other entertainment, very popular but nearly all visitors are Italian, and you can get a boat during the day to the sea caves , some under the town and one is a restaurant.
I visited Cantine San Marzano. Excellent wines specialy the Talò range and 62 anniversary. It is a tasting room of a coop. But award winning wines. The verdeca and muscat whites plus primitivo and negroamaro reds were great. The wine regions I liked most were Manduria, Gioia del Colle and Valle d’Itria. In Basilicata a red wine is remarkable- Aglianico del Vulture. Matera is impressive, my favourite place was Lecce. Otranto is beautiful, restaurants by the ramparts overlooking the sea are great. I did not have a good time with Bari.
Thanks. Did you visit the winery itself or the outlet that seems to be in the middle of town?
It was out of town on top of a hill. Lots of local people come to buy their gallons of amabile (weekday wine- lower ABV) poured from vats. All wines are available to taste, no charge. There was also a fabulous rosé called Tramari. Talò Primitivo di Manduria 2015 won tre bichiere in the Gambero Rosso publication, it like their Michelin guide for wines.
Thank you very much everyone for all the suggestions. We’ll let you know when we get back of any hits or misses we find.
We managed a very good visit today to I Pastini, a fairly small organic estate between Martina Franca and Locorotondo. They do a good tour of the vineyard and the old farmhouse, as well as a tasting of 5 wines at a reasonable price. From a vinous point of view, the main interest is a couple of local grapes, Minutolo and Susumaniello, which make interesting wine and which you don’t commonly meet in the UK. We’re talking very good everyday wines rather than great ones, but fairly priced for what they are.
Allow me to re-acquaint you with the grape once you get home …
It’s certainly worth getting to know. But can you also resolve the local controversy: “Is Minutolo the same as Fiano?” I Pastini are very firmly in the , “Oh no, it’s not!” camp, and theirs actually bears some resemblance in style to Gewürztraminer - though no one would mistake the two. But maybe that’s how they vinify it.