Move over Chianti there is a new wine region in Italy and it has been right under your nose for over a millennia. Puglia, pronounced ‘pool-ia’, is located in the heel of Italy’s boot and recently I had the distinct pleasure to attend a wine tasting ceremony held by a group of Puglian wine makers and promoters at the Chateau Laurier in time for Puglia Wine week which was September 21 through to September 25.

 

First a little information on Puglia itself. As I said, the region is located in Italy’s heel with 24 wine producers in the area that are currently taking advantage of the unique climate and location. Puglia is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea and enjoys the benefits of a mild climate and lots of sun all year round. Even though winter months can be chilly (around 5 degrees Celsius on average at its coldest), there is still bright sun and blue skies during the day. The soil and environment make Puglia ideal not only for wine, but Olive Oil. Of which, Puglia is the largest producer region in Italy. In any given year Puglia provides 70% of Italy’s Olive Oil and 15% of the world’s supply.

Thousands of years ago Puglia began making what are now considered its world-renowned wines. At the time they were famous and shipped all over Italy and the Mediterranean.  With some time Puglia began producing mainly for its own consumption and were overshadowed on the world stage by other Italian wine regions.

Present day, Puglian wines are making a triumphant return to the world stage. With their ‘new wines from old vines’ they are creating some real buzz about what the region can produce in terms of character, flavour and boldness in their wines.

I make no secret of the fact that I am not the worlds most educated source on wines, but I do know what I like and I like these Puglian wines. Hubby and I spent our Honeymoon in Northern Italy and after this tasting we are itching to return to the region to experience a whole different side of Italy.

 

The sunshine and costal breezes that rain down on the 24 Puglian wineries flavour the very soil that the grapes grow from, grapes that are unique to the region and have been growing there for thousands of years. The region primarily creates red wines but also have some stellar, confident whites wines as well.

I was most impressed with the quality of the wine. For a reasonable price you get a great wine that can hold its own and accompany any meal you are preparing. Speaking of which, I was able to try some traditional and Puglian inspired food dishes and I was impressed by how well the wine was able to match with the meal – from the pasta course to seafood, beef to dessert, there is a Puglian wine perfect for all courses.

For those of you out there like me, who know that they like wine and food but perhaps do not know which wine to choose for their meal – there are several places to get this information quickly and easily. There are several blogs out there, several great local ones too, that discuss wine in detail. Check out Wine out Loud or guest wine posts from Claire on FoodiePrints for some great wine ideas. There are also apps out for cell phones like that from Natalie MacLean which will help you with your wine food pairings. Finally, speak to a store representative. Let him know what you are planning to eat and ask for a Puglian wine suggestion. It’s easy and better than picking based on a label. 

Another great idea is to head out for a meal and let those trained in food and wines make the combination for you! During Puglian Wine week here in Ottawa there were several of our finer local restaurants hosting Puglian wines, cuisine and producers from one of the 24 wineries who arrived from Italy just for the event.

Johnny Farina’s hosted Vigne E Vini on September 23
Juniper hosted Vallone on September 23
La Roma hosted Cefalicchio on September 24
Trattoria Caffe Italia hosted Albea on September 24
Stella hosted Tormaresca on September 25

Hopefully you had the chance to visit during one of these visits and learn a little more about the wonderful ‘new wines from old vines’ that are making their presence known on the international wine scene. If not, do not despair! Soon with a quick visit to your local LCBO or SAQ these wines will be readily available to you, something this good cannot be kept from the public for long.

 Thank you so much to Divino Wine Studio and Wines of Puglia for organizing such a stellar event, the winemakers from Puglia who travelled from Italy to share their wonderful product with us and to everyone for recognizing Ottawa’s love of food and drink enough to make us one of a very limited number of cities who got to rediscover the beauty of Puglia and the wines that it produces.

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