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Italy’s ‘New World Wine Region’, Puglia produces more wine than all of Australia. Situated along the heel of Italy’s boot and with a name meaning ‘lack of rain’, it enjoys a sunny, warm Mediterranean climate, limestone-rich and fertile soils and cooling Adriatic breezes, providing the perfect climate for grape growers. In fact, Puglia is home mostly to grape growers, the harvest of whom brims with flavour-packed and powerful local grape varieties.

Historically dedicated more to high-volume grape growing than wine production, Puglia has turned its focus to quality over quantity since the end of the twentieth century. Subsequently, the limited, but growing number of small-scale Puglian producers are creating wines of exquisite quality – reflective of their producers’ harmonic relationship with nature and a respect for the land from which they harvest.

In the winery, Puglian wine producers are open to innovation, writing their own rules and combining the strengths of their climate with modern winemaking techniques inspired by New World regions that grasped consumer attention as Puglia was reborn.

Divided into three viticultural areas – Foggia in the north, Bari and Taranto in the middle and Brindisi and Lecce in the South – Puglian wines reflect their provenance: full-blooded and bombastic reds, from Sangiovese, Primitivo, Negroamaro, Nero di Troia and beyond, that pack a punch only the heel of Italy could deliver.

Primitivo (so-called for its early ripening genetics) produces rich and abundantly-weighted Puglian red wines with fresh figs, baked blackberries and dried fruit leather lifted by a touch of green from the occasional underripe grape. Caiaffa’s Primitivo gives us wild strawberries, raspberry and basil – a welcome and unexpectedly bright example of a well-weighted, hot climate grape. Meanwhile, Negroamaro (‘bitter black’) offers a veritable spice cabinet – anise, allspice, cinnamon – alongside ripe plums and baked raspberries. A perfect companion to any Puglian dish. Tuck into some orecchiette and keep an ear open for exciting Puglian red and white wines stepping into the limelight.

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