Apulia mainly coincides with the Salento peninsula (Italy's “heel”) and overlooks two seas: the Adriatic to the East and the Ionian Sea to the South, while bordering the region of Molise to the North and Campania and Basilicata to the West. It is home to two great national parks, the Alta Murgia and the Gargano National Park, and it is geographically flat (Tavoliere delle Puglie) with only a few moderate hills in the North. The climate is typically Mediterranean with very hot, dry summers and mild winters.
The name Apulia derives from its main pre-Roman population, the Apuli, although some scholars believe it comes from the Latin word 'Apluvia', which means 'land with no rain'. With its first human settlements dating back at least 250,000 years and the fossil remains of the Man of Altamura - an archaic form of Homo Neanderthalensis - Apulia is one of the richest archaeological regions in Italy. During the Hellenic Era, it was first colonized by Mycenaen Greeks and later became part of Magna Grecia, with the Spartan colony-town of Taras (Taranto). The Romans, who started colonising the area in the third century B.C., encountered fierce resistance from the local populations and had to fight hard to subdue them.
Heir to a winemaking tradition with roots in the ancient Greek civilization, Apulia recently shifted away from producing a great volume of unremarkable wine towards making smaller quantities of wines of great character. Commonly used grapes are the local varieties Negroamaro and Bombino Nero, as well as “imported” varieties as Montepulciano and Sangiovese. Malvasia, Trebbiano, Bianco d’Alessano and Bombino Bianco contribute to the white wines of the North of the peninsula, better known for its fine rosé wines and well-structured reds.
The centre of the region mainly produces white wines from Verdeca grapes, although there are also some recent plantings of international varieties such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Some fine red wines are made around Salento, where the Negroamaro and Primitivo grapes dominate. Thanks to the rise of the Primitivo di Manduria grape (a relative of the popular Zinfandel), Salento’s wines are gaining in commercial credibility.
Red grape varieties:
Aleatico, Negroamaro, Nero Camarillo, Nero di Troia,
Bombino Nero, Malvasia Nero di Brindisi, Malvasia Nero di Lecce, Montepulciano,
Primitivo, Sangiovese. White grape varieties: Fiano, Falanghina, Impigno, Verdeca.
Typical Red Wines
Primitivo di Manduria, Castel del Monte Rosso, Castel del Monte Nero di Troia,
Castel del Monte Bombino Nero, all DOCG, Aleatico di Puglia, Alezio Rosso,
Brindisi Rosso DOC, Copertino Rosso, Galatina Negroamaro, Leverano Rosso,
Rosso Barletta, Malvasia Nera, San Severo Rosso, Salice Salentino Rosso, Nardò
Typical White Wines
Gravina, Gravina Spumante, Lizzano Bianco, Lizzano Frizzante, Moscato di Trani,
Salice Salentino Bianco, San Severo Bianco, Daunia Frizzante / Passito, Tarantino,
Typical Rosé Wines
Alezio Rosato, Copertino Rosato, Gioia del Colle Rosato, San Severo Rosato,
Squinzano Rosato, Puglia Rosato, Tarantino Rosato, Valle d'Itria Rosato