Wines to Explore in the South of Italy
By Liza B Zimmerman
I just got back from a great trip to Southern Italy, which was chock full of chances to try some great, region Italian wines.
Traveling in Italy means getting to know hundreds and sometimes thousands of the peninsula’s local grapes. Almost every Italian region has its own unique grape varietals. Many of these don’t even overlap region to region.
Puglia is home to big, luscious reds such as Primitivo. However the whites from this region are rarely seen in outside the country and that is a shame because they are lovely, Torrevento’s Pezzapiano, a blend of Bombino Bianco and Pampanuto grapes is beautiful, refreshing and aromatic.
Heading into the hilly and isolated Basilicata, Aglianico is the big red of choice. It young, tense and tannic: a red wine that really needs food, ideally big meats. Basilicata, interestingly enough, is one of the few Italian regions that have lots of ungrafted vines because of the soil conditions. The few other places I know of like this are parts of Chile, Australia and Colares in Portugal.
In Campania—an area noted for its incredible production of elegant whites, made from local varietals such as Falanghina, Greco di Tufo and Fiano—we encountered a cooperative playing with a non-sulphites added wine. These have long been trendy in the States, and I have long been concerned about how stable they are in the bottle, particularly for the export market.
Liza the Wine Chick