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Wines of Puglia, Italy

text and photographs © 2008 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Puglia.

ACCADEMIA DEI RACEMI

Pietraluna Negroamaro del Salento 2008
Forty percent of this wine was aged in large American oak barrels, 60% in steel. Lightly smoky, slightly rubbery touch to red fruits. The palate has a big burst of sweet fruit: thick and plummy, with the wine slightly on the warm side, giving a little bit of a furry character to the tannins. Spicy and mouth-filling stuff though. 85/100.

Sum Vino Rosso da Tavola 2006
Made from 100% Sussumaniello. Very bright, zingy colour. Nose has cherry and a herbal edge, with a little suggestion of briar. There's a creamy richness on the palate, and a nice chewy fleshiness to the tannins. Good, bright acidity in a very honest and tasty wine. 88/100. 11 euros

Archidamo Primitivo di Manduria 2006
From red soils over limestone. 40% in large barrels for six months, 60% in steel. Again that herbal and cherry tang on the nose, but a slightly more ripe and rich character, with plenty of spice coming through. A little earthy character adds warmth. On the palate fine, sweet fruit though it has no great length, finishing warm and easy to drink. 86/100. 6 euros

Felline Primitivo di Manduria 2006
Fourteen percent alcohol (minimum for this DOC). Aged 12 months in new Alliers oak. Bright, svelte nose with a hint of coffee and smooth berry fruit. On the palate this is smooth and mouth-filling, with svelte tannins and a sophisticated if more international character. 87/100. 8 euros.

Giravolta Primitivo di Manduria 2006
From black soils and bush vines of 40-45 years of age. Thirty percent spends six months in oak. A touch of animal quality and again that cherry and herb lift, with the oak adding a little cedary character. The ripe, sweet fruit fills the mouth - lots of power here and a deep, fleshy core of fruit into a spicy finish. 88/100. 12 euros.

Sinfarosa Primitivo di Manduria Zinfandel 2006
Californian Zinfandel grafted onto Primiitivo roots. Half of the wine aged in Slavonian oak and some American. Has a tarry quality, a little bit more of a black fruit essence. The sweetness of the dark plummy fruit, edged with chocolate, and lots of fleshy, spicy, rich fruit but staying fresh. 89/100. 12.5 euros.

Dunico Primitivo di Manduria 2005
So named because it is grown in deep sandy soils at the dunes of the Adriatic coast. 15.8% alcohol. Vineyards are free-standing Arborella, 50-60 years old vines, and it spends eight months in large Slavonian oak. Quiet a dusty, lightly smoky character to this, with just a touch of something green and perhaps a little underripe (from a cooler vintage). There's a really cedary element too. The palate has masses of spice and earthy, deep red fruit, with a big finish that betrays the high alcohol slightly, but offers a fairly profound, in-your-face Primitivo experience. 88/100. 25 euros.

Primo Amore 2004
Fifteen percent alcohol, late-harvested (end September/start October). Comes from Arborella vines of 50-55 years of age. One year in large Slavonian oak. Around 70g/l of residual sugar. Some chocolaty but also gravy browning notes, with little tea and pruney, compote notes. The palate has a big cherryish core, with a softening sweetness, low acidity and quite good length. Quite harmonious and spicily mouth-filling. 88/100.

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