When we think of Puglia, and in particular, when we think of the wines produced in Salento, the first thing that comes to mind is red wine or rosé made from Negroamaro and Primitivo. As a result, we tend to neglect the native white grapes that flourish in our region. One of these grapes is the “Cinderella” of Pugliese wine: Verdeca.
While the origins of this variety are unknown, it’s highly likely that it’s one of the grapes brought to Puglia by the many conquerors who arrived from the east and who inhabitied and populated our beloved region.
It’s historical roots stretch back to a time long ago when it was cultivated in the province of Brindisi and neighboring Taranto (in the towns of Martina Franca, Locorotondo, Gravina, Cisternino, and Ostuni) — an area known as the Valle d’Itria or Itria Valley. This growing zone has the ideal subsoils and climate for Verdeca and, indeed, it’s the principal grape raised there.
In recent years, growers have also had success with Verdeca in northern Salento, in particular in the territory that lies between the provinces of Lecce and Brindisi.
Appellation: Puglia IGT.
Grape: 100% Verdeca.
Production area: Alberobello (BA).
Yield per hectare: 9-10 tons (5,000 plants per hectare).
Harvest: Second half of September.
Training: Spur-pruned cordon-trained and head-trained (alberello).
Vinification: The grapes are destemmed, not pressed, and cooled to 8° C. They remain at this temperature for a few hours to increase the extraction of primary aromas. The soft-pressed must is racked at the same temperature in order to allow for natural fining. Alcoholic fermentation is then carried out in stainless-steel vats at 15° C.
Aging potential: This wine is intended to be drunk in its youth but thanks to its healthy acidity, it will maintain its freshness for up to 2 years.
Color: Intense straw yellow with hints of green.
Nose: Intense and persistent. Fruity with clean notes of quince, elderberry, and pear tree aromas. Classic balsamic finish with notes of rosemary and sage.
Palate: Intense, clean, and fresh with a light aromatic note. Seductive, persistent finish with aromatic complexity.
Pairing: Seafood, fresh and light cheeses. Light first courses that are not to intense in their aromatic or spicy character.
Serving temperature: 11° C. (52° F.).