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Wines of Puglia, Italy

text and photographs © 2008 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Puglia.

SANTA DIMITRI

Pinto Bianco 2008
An IGT from the odd vines that were interspersed amongst other varieties in old field blend vineyards. A touch herbal, with quite good lemony fruit and a touch of phenloc, skinny character. The palate has pretty good acidity and a bit of weight. There's a touch of grreeness to this, maybe as an attempt to pick early and retain acidity - which they have achieved, as it finishes with a freshening tang. 86/100. 6-7 euros retail locally.

Fiano 'Ruah' 2008
IGT Salento, fom vineyards planted 15 years ago. Quite positive and aromatic, with a touch of honeysuckle and almond to white fruit. The palate Has a nice marriage of density and a bright, focused acidity that gives it a lovely savoury edge into the finish. There's a nice bite of structural spice and tannin and lovely freshness. 88/100.

Fiano 'Ruah' 2007
A bit of honey and nice development. Holding up well with good acidity but still plenty of fruit and textural weight. 87/100.

Aruca Negroamaro Rosé 2008
100% Negroamaro, made specifically as a rosé, not as a run-off from the red. Quite a bright, pinkish cherry colour. Nice bright cherry and reducrrant fruit, leading onto a palate with good crunch to the fruit, though no great length. Balanced and easy to sip. 85/100. 6.50 euro

Aruca Negroamaro 2005
Fifteen percent or so spends six months in Hungarian oak. There's a touch of smokiness and charcoal to the solid, chocolaty aromas. The palate has really nice fruit too - a creaminess and sweet damson jam density but a good, fresh finish with some style. 87/100. 8.5 euros.

Primitivo 'Sharav' 2005
All of this wine spent four months in Hungarian oak. Comes from the western part of the peninsula - "the Ioanian vineyard". The oak influence - spicy, charry and a touch resinous - is fairly obvious even after four years. On the palate the purity of the fruit comes through very nicely, a real cherry and crunchy blackcurrant fruit, with nicely grippy, roughening tannins that add structure along with balanced acidity. 88/100. 10-11 euro

Margia 2005
Sixty percent Negroamaro aged four months in Slavonian big barrels, 20% each of merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon aged four months in Alliers barriques. A firm, almost mentholly character from the Cabernet, with some dustiness and cherry fruit. The palate has beautifully sweet fruit. It has a real cassis core, with gentle spice and a broad, spice and plum depth and a little tobacco. Very nice, ripe tannins here, in an internationally styled but delicious wine. 90/100. 12-14 euros

Serra dei Santi 2008
A passito of Aleatico, the grapes dried on mats. Aged in steel only - no barrique. Harvested quite early but at around half the yields of the table wines. Very, very fresh and perfumed with floral notes and lots of fresh aromatic herbs. The palate is zingily fresh, with great verve to the bright, cherry and herb fruit and just a hint of chocolaty richness and sweetness in the finish. Lovely and unusual stuff. 89/100.

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