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Apulia Native Vines – Second Part
Rosa D'Ancona – February 17, 2006



Native White Vines

In the Molise region there are no native white vines.

Native Red Vines

Aleatico
This grape was brought to Italy by the ancient Greeks in times long past, and it later spread to Apulia and Latium. A white Aleatico, known locally as Liulico or Liatica, is found in some parts of Tuscany. In the past, it was believed that the Aleatico grape was a mutation of the Moscato variety, but recent studies by M. Crespan and M. Milani (2001) proved that the vine is not the result of a mutation, though it is directly related to the Moscato Bianco grape, with which it shares the characteristic aroma.

  Catarratto
  Aleatico
  Malvasia Nera
  Malvasia Nera
  Malvasia Nera di Lecce
  Malvasia Nera di Lecce
  Negroamaro Nero
  Negroamaro Nero
  Primitivo
  Primitivo
  Uva di Troia
  Uva di Troia
   

In Apulia the Aleatico grape is used to produce Aleatico di Puglia, Salice Salentino and Gioia del Colle VQPRD wines. In addition, it is included in various other VQPRD vines produced in Central and Southern Italy. Small quantities are also sold as table grapes, thanks to its Muscat-like flavor and the characteristic aroma. The wines produced with this grape are typically ruby red in color with deep purple highlights, are soft, velvety and sweet to the palate, with delicious fragrance and aroma of Moscato, which at times can be very intense.

The vine is widely grown in Apulia, especially in the Salento area and in the province of Bari. It's among the grape varieties registered as suitable to be cultivated in all the Apulia provinces.

Malvasia Nera di Brindisi
This ancient vine, whose origin is unknown, is widely cultivated in Apulia, especially in the provinces of Brindisi, Lecce and Taranto. The grape belongs to the great family of the Malvasia of Greek origin, and was probably brought over from Monemvasia (Peloponnesian). It's very similar to Malvasia Nera di Lecce, with which it shares its DNA, according to analysis conducted by the Istituto Sperimentale per la Viticoltura (Experimental Institute for Viticulture). The results however, are considered int conclusive, as more samples must be analyzed (Crespan M. et al., ongoing research.)

Sometimes used as table grapes, the fruit is rarely made into varietal wines. Usually it's blended with other native varietals, such as Negro Amaro and/or Susamaniello. The resulting wines have high alcohol content, are ruby red in color, with pleasant perfume, harmonious flavor, and are robust with good body.

The vine is particularly widespread in the Salento area and is registered among the varieties suitable to be cultivated in all the Apulia provinces. Cultivated also in other Italian regions, in Apulia it is used to make some VQPRD vines.

Malvasia Nera di Lecce
This vine is usually grown along with Negroamaro. This Lecce variety is different from the Malvasia variety which is of eastern origin, in which it doesn't have the characteristic, slightly bitter, Moscato perfume and flavor, typical of other types of Malvasia grapes. It's similar to the Malvasia Nera di Brindisi, with which it shares its DNA, according to analysis conducted by the Istituto Sperimentale per la Viticoltura (Experimental Institute for Viticulture).

The grapes are usually blended with Negroamaro, giving the wines the right amount of alcohol and strong body. The wines are fine, with good alcohol content, are characterized by deep ruby red color, have pleasant perfume and harmonious, velvety flavor.

The vine is particularly cultivated in the Salento area and is registered among the varieties suitable for cultivation in all the Apulia provinces. It is used in some VQPRD vines.

Negroamaro Precoce
In doing research for a program to improve the genetic heritage of the Salento vines, in 1994 the Istituto Sperimentale per la Viticoltura (Experimental Institute for Viticulture) discovered a Negroamaro vineyard which presented an evidently shortened ripening period compared to the surrounding vines. The following analysis confirmed that those vines had the ampelographic, ampelometric, productive characteristics and DNA typical of thee Negroamaro variety, but had a decidedly shorter ripening period by at least 20 days, which clearly positively affected the chemistry of the grapes at harvest time (Calò 1999).

The wine made with this grape is elegant, harmonious, with intense red color. The perfume is of ripe red fruits, the flavor is full, balanced and with good tannins. The vine was selected by the Istituto Sperimentale per la Viticoltura in Apulia from old vineyards in the Salento wine zone, the typical Negroamaro production area. It's registered among the varieties suitable for cultivation in all the Apulia provinces, with the exception of Foggia.

Negroamaro Nero
This ancient vine, whose origin are unknown, has been cultivated for very long time in Apulia. According to some, the name is derived from the local dialect 'niuru mani', with reference to the bitter flavor of its wines. The most credited theory though, has the name derived by the combination of the latin word NIGRA and the Greek MAVRO. Both terms mean 'black', and it is believed that the name highlights the deep black color of both the grape skin and the wines made with the fruit. It is believed that this grape was cultivated as far back as the 8th or 7th century B.C., at the time of the Greek colonization.

The grapes are used exclusively to produce wine, both as varietals and blended with other varieties.

The wine has intense, garnet red color, with round flavor, slightly bitter and dry. Blended with Malvasia Nera produces an excellent rosé wine. The variety is cultivated in the whole region, but especially in the Salento area, It is registered among the grape varieties suitable for cultivation in all the Apulia provinces. this is the most cultivated vine in the provinces of Lecce and Brindisi, where it's used in most local red and rosé DOC wines. It's also used to make some VQPRD vines.

Primitivo
Of unknown origin, the introduction of this vine to the region may dates as far back as the times of the Phoenician colonization, or to the subsequent Greek invasion. It is documented that, toward the end of the 18th century, Don Francesco Filippo Indellicati, from Gioia del Colle, selected the Primitivo vine from old local vineyards (Musei G., 1913), thus spread the cultivation and winemaking of the variety. It is noteworthy that the selection was made from 'old vineyards', therefore, whatever the origin of the vine, in the late 1700s it had already been cultivated in the area for a long time.

Around the end of the 19th century this vine cultivation expanded to the province of Taranto as well.

The Primitivo grape has the same DNA as California Zinfandel. In addition, DNA studies conducted in Italy by the Istituto Sperimentale per la Viticoltura, and in the US at the University of California at Davis, proved that the DNA is shared by the Croatian grape Crljenaki as well. Another Croatian vine which shows similar characteristics, the Plavac Mali, was recently proved to be the result of crossbreeding between California Zinfandel and Dobricic, another Croatian vine, (Maletic E. et al. 2002).

The production is qualitatively excellent, however the quantity is not consistent. This vine variety fares better in deep, clay-calcareous soil. It gives the best enological results when grown as medium-low plants, with abundant, short trimming, as is the case with the alberello pugliese (Apulia-style little tree) method, with four or five spurs. The female plants are extremely fertile, and produce a second, belated maturation, which produces between 20 and 30% of the main harvest. The plant presents medium resistance to peronospora and oidio, but does not fare well with root rot or spring frost. In addition, drought and high summer temperatures can be very damaging to this vine, whose grapes may parch and burn.

Susamaniello Nero
This vine of unknown origin was maybe brought over from Dalmatia, and currently is particularly cultivated around Otranto and in the province of Bari. In 1947, F. Carpentieri wrote about the Lacrima di Puglia (Apulia Tears, or the Susumaniello grape) grown in the provinces of Bari, Brindisi and Lecce, which "give brilliant red wine, with direct flavor, harmonious, full, which gets better if the grapes are mixed with those from the Montepulciano vine." The fruit is used exclusively to make wine, and almost exclusively blended with other grape varieties. The wine has intense color, with red foam and rich acidity, it's dry and austere to the palate.

The vine has been cultivated in Apulia for long time, and in the past it was certainly widespread, as there are numerous regional synonyms for it. Currently is found mostly in the province of Brindisi, where in the past it was used to make sweet filtered must, because of its ability to give an intense, ruby red color and good acidity to the wine to which it was added. It is registered among the grape varieties suitable to be cultivated in all the Apulia provinces, with the exception of Foggia. It is used in the Brindisi and Ostuni DOC wines.

Uva di Troia Nero (Black Troy Grape)
This vine is among the most ancient of the Center-North part of the region and it was perhaps brought over from the ancient city of Troy, during the Greek colonization of Apulia. Alternatively, the grape could have gotten his name from the town of Troia (Troy), in the province of Foggia, or from the Albanian town of Cruja, know also by the name of Troia.

The wines are ruby red in color with orangey highlights, have high alcoholic content and good body, with limited acidity, are dry and harmonious, with neutral flavor. The vine is registered among the varieties suitable for cultivation in all the Apulia provinces. The grape is used to produce various DOC wines.

Outstanding Producers (Producing DOC and IGT wines)

Labels: Salice Salentino Riserva Donna Lisa
Labels: Nero
Labels: Le Braci
Labels: Torre Testa
Labels: Masseria Maime
Labels: Primitivo di Manduria Archidamo


 
 
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