Epicurean Review: Italian wines from Apulia

The Luxe Factor: Elegant wine tasting evening of Puglia wines at Gaia Ristorante

BY Arjun Sekri



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The Hong Kong based boutique wine importer, Flavours from Apulia, recently hosted a wine tasting of Southern Italian wines from the Apulia region at the Gaia Italian restaurant in Hong Kong. Flavours from Apulia wines represent the richness of the grape varieties available in the Apulia region, focusing on both small and less known wineries of the territory, as well as more internationally known and awarded ones.

The event was sponsored by the Italian Chamber of Commerce, which regularly sponsors some of the finest Italian F&B related events in Hong Kong. The setting for the tasting was the elegant & contemporary Gaia Ristorante, which has an alfresco Italian piazza style setting in Sheung Wan.

Gaia Ristorante

Gaia ristorante hong kong

On offer was a great selection of 9 labels including red, white & sparkling, including organic and vegan certified wines from boutique wineries in the Puglia region of south-east Italy, which  due to its location and shape has earned the nickname “heel of the Italian boot”. It is the region with the longest coastline in Italy and offers breathtaking landscapes. But more than everything, it is a land of hospitality and great food and wines. The wine labels are produced from grapes grown in the Apulia region and most of these grapes are indigenous, dating back to the Roman Empire, such as Negroamaro, Malvasia Nera, Verdeca and Primitivo. Some of the wines are also produced using more well known grapes, like Chardonnay which gains very interesting flavours growing in this warm and dry region.

Puglia Map

Puglia Italy Map

Some of the wineries represented included: (1) Cantine Brancasi, with its DOC wines being produced using Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera grapes, typical grapes from the area, but also quality wines with Chardonnay and Primitivo & Zinfandel grapes (2) Feudi di Guagnamo, which produces wines from indigenous grape varieties such as Negroamaro, Primitivo, Malvsia Nera and Verdeca. They invented the first vegan Negroamaro (3) Vinicola Savese, this family winery pursues the best quality for dry and natural sweet wines. They work as “Artisans of the Primitivo”, focusing on this specific grape (4) Pirro Varone, a young and dynamic winery engaged in employing biological methods for their products and respecting the traditional methods of the territory.

Flavours from Apulia wine tasting

Flavours from Apulia

The importer of these wines, Antonio Quartulli, explained that 3 of the wines sampled were award winning wines:

(1) Pirro Varone, Primitivo di Manduria DOP 2013: this bright ruby coloured wine has a intricate bouquet, and is soft and moderately dry with gratifying freshness. It won the Silver Medal at the Cathay Pacific HK International Wine and Spirit Competition 2016 (http://hkiwsc.com/)
(2) Nero di Velluto, Negroamaro Salento IGT 2012: this intense red is warm, enthralling and velvety in the mouth, with outstanding hints of black pepper, tobacco and cocoa. The production is limited to about 10,000 bottles, all hand numbered, produced only in the best years and with grapes coming from a 1935 vineyard. This won the Silver Medal at the Decanter Asia Wine Awards 2016 (http://www.decanter.com/decanter-awards/decanter-asia-wine-awards/)
(3) Il Sava, Primitivo di Manduria DOC Dolce Naturale 2007: a sweet wine that is outstanding when paired with dark chocolate. It is of a consistent, smooth, quiet and clear appearance.  Initially it assumes a purplish red color, and its favor is warm, sweet and fleshy, with remote hints of licorice. It was rated 95/100 by Decanter (http://www.decanter.com/reviews/italy/savese-il-sava-primitivo-di-manduria-dolce-naturale-2007/)

Flavours from Apulia

Overall, we discovered that these relatively unknown and ancient variety of grapes from this less touristy area of Italy offers up some world class wines at affordable prices. These wines can be ordered online at: https://www.flavoursapulia.com.hk The high quality of the wines was paired with some mouth watering Milanese appetizers, courtesy Gaia Ristorante. The wine aficionados in attendance enjoyed this elegant wine tasting evening courtesy the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

Flavours from Apulia7

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