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Salento Wines

Salento Wines

Salento is a cultural, historical and geographic peninsula, situated in the south-eastern region of Puglia, in the 'heel' of Italy’s 'boot'. Salento boasts some of the warmest climates in Italy, although some of the driest, too. The fact that it's surrounded by the ocean means a lovely breeze blows throughout regularly.

Salento's rich winemaking history dates back to approximately 6th century BC, when Negroamaro grapes were introduced to the area. Nowadays, produces a range of different wines; white wines, red wines, sparkling wines, rosé and even sweet wines. The area is known for its fertile soil, which gives it the flexibility to grow almost anything. For this, they can thank the nearby Ionian and Adriatic Seas.

In the wine world, Salento is known for its attractive, smooth reds with a rustic element. The most famous grapes are Primitivo, Malvasia Nera and Negroamaro.

The grapes have low yields, which is desired in viticulture. This, along with the fact the vines grow close to the nearby seas, helps with the delicious depth of flavour.

The region is also responsible for over 50 different varieties of wine. Though not to the taste of some wine purists, Salento wines are some of the most commonly used IGT wines in Puglia. IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) wines are where the introduction of foreign grape varieties has been utilised. Typically in Italy, French varietals may be added, with the benefit of moving away from the more traditional wine-making methods.

This has dramatically swelled Puglia's wine output over the years. In fact, some of Salento's finest wines are produced under IGT, especially Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Although, the area has not always been known for its quality wine. Salento used to have an unfair reputation for producing 'bulk' wine with no pride attached, favourite quantity over quality. Due to the number of olive trees in the region, olive oil was generally prioritised and seen as the most important product for the economy. Now though, the quality of their wines is known worldwide. Mention Salento to a wine enthusiast and they'll salivate over a Bombino Nero rosé or a Salice Salentino, washed down with pizza or meatballs.

Italians, especially from northern Italy, view Salento as an ideal holiday destination. There is everything to enjoy in the region: sun, beaches, local wine and fresh food. Salento is known for its 'peasant' food, which nods to its agricultural and fishing history. "Sagne 'ncannulate" (rolled lasagna) is washed down with a Negroamara, while "Puccia Salentina" (a tuna, capers and vegetable sandwich with olive bread) is accompanied by a Primitivo. Tourists also, of course, want to see the famous vineyards and olive trees.

Salento's biggest local wineries are Tenute Rubino (275 hectares, produces over 1.2 million bottles a year), Mottura Vini Del Salento (a multi-award-winning modern vineyard) and Leone di Castris (a 17th century wine estate, producing 2.5 millions of bottles per year).