The best white wines of Puglia
For centuries, vineyards and olive groves have characterized Puglia’s landscape and economy. It is true that Puglia is often associated with its rosé and red wines, but the white wines of its various winegrowing areas are also considered extremely important and display expressive character. Among the most representative wines of the region we must mention Bombino Bianco, Malvasia Bianca, Verdeca, Fiano, Moscato Bianco, Pampanuto and Bianco d’Alessano, as well as all the international varieties, with Chardonnay to the fore. This variety of French origin is found, for example, in one of the largest designations in the whole region, Puglia Chardonnay IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica), which envisages varietal mention also for Bombino Bianco, Biancolella (a variety also found in Campania, especially in Ischia), Coda di Volpe, Falanghina, Fiano, Francavilla, Greco, Impignano, Manzoni Bianco, Montonico, Moscatello Selvatico and many others.
Moving on to the smaller DOC zones, Castel del Monte Bombino is among the most interesting in terms of history and tradition, because it owes its name to the iconic fortress built by Frederick II of Swabia, in the Alta Murgia National Park. In the splendid area of Salento there is the Salice Salentino Bianco DOC designation, in the provinces of Lecce and Brindisi, where various wines are produced, from Chardonnay and Fiano (also sparkling), to dry, sweet and fortified Aleatico, as well as other varieties, both native and international. Then there is Gravina DOC based on Malvasia, the Locorotondo DOC zone, in the trulli area, where Verdeca, Fiano and Bombino are used; and the Moscato di Trani DOC zone, between Bisceglie and Barletta. In conclusion, Puglian wine is a melting pot of different varieties, soils and pedoclimatic zones, which bear testimony to its centuries-old winemaking culture. You just have to find the designation you like best and, perhaps, try some food and wine pairings. Below, we offer you our suggestions.
Pairings to try
The white wines of Puglia are wonderful companions throughout the meal, starting with the most inclusive designation, Puglia IGT, which covers various types. You can begin with a Malvasia and fresh grilled vegetables or shrimp-based finger food, to then move on to a Bombino Bianco to accompany pasta with tuna, while Fiano Pugliese pairs well with delicious stewed squid and Moscato Bianco with a delicious fruit tart. Moving on to the Chardonnay-based Salice Salentino DOC, a great pairing is spaghetti with garlic and oil, a very simple dish, but one full of flavour, or otherwise opt for the sparkling version as an aperitif to pair with raw seafood, such as a salmon carpaccio. If you opt for the Pinot Bianco Salice Salentino version, generally more delicate, with distinctive floral aromas and an approachable palate, it is better to pair it with equally light dishes, such as mozzarella or goat’s cheese for cheese lovers, or vegetarian dishes.
More harmonious flavours and aromas
If you prefer more harmonious and delicate flavours, we suggest the following pairings. Bombino Bianco Castel del Monte, with its aromatic, fresh fruit nose, tangy palate and moderate structure, goes well with vegetable cream soups, seafood risotto or simply cooked scallops. The delicate, pleasing Locorotondo DOC can be paired with dishes that show similarly mild flavours, such as spaghetti with baby squid or crostini with courgette pâté, while drier, more approachable Martina Franca DOC goes better with fish appetisers. If you have a sweet tooth and can’t resist zabaglione or white chocolate biscuits at the end of a meal, then uncork a Moscato di Trani, with its golden hue, aromas of apricot and dried fruit, and an attractive, vibrant palate. Puglia offers a wide range of tasty pairings, so all that’s left to do is give them a try and above all ... have fun!