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Southern Italy T

he wines of Southern Italy are on the move. Te drive for quality has overshadowed the race for quantity as wines have become soft-

er than traditional full-bodied and tannic styles of yesterday. Accounting for 40 percent of the coun- try’s production, the six regions that comprise Italy’s southern wine zone start in Abruzzo and run south to the island of Sicily.

CAMPANIA Campania is a wine-producing region that runs along the eastern coast of southern Italy and encompasses Naples and the surrounding area. Naples is the major city of Campania, Italy’s second most populous region. Tere are 18 DOCs in the area, including Capri; Faler- no del Massico; Fiano di Avellino; Greco di Tufo; Ischia; Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio; Solopaca; and Taurasi, which was awarded DOCG status. Te primary variet- ies here are Aglianico and Piedirosso for red wines, and Asprinio, Fiano, Greco and Falanghina for white wines. Te three wines with the finest reputations come from

the area surrounding the town of Avellino. Taurasi DOCG is a red wine made from the high-quality Aglianico grape. Tis wine must be aged for three years, with at least one year in a cask before it is released. Tis is a full-bodied red with great aging potential. Greco di Tufo and Fianco di Avellino are both top-quality, dry white wines named after the grapes from which they are made; both are DOCG.

APULIA Located in Italy’s southeast section, Apulia (Puglia in Italian) is the wine region lying in the “heel” of Italy’s boot-shaped landmass. Tere are numerous grape varieties grown in the Apulia region. Te pri- mary red grapes are Negroamaro, Primitivo, Malva- sia Nera and Uva di Troia. Te white grape varieties, led by Verdeca, include Bianco d’Alessano, Bombino Bianco, Malvasia Bianca and Trebbiano. Puglia has been producing wine for more than 2,000 years. Apulia’s 25 DOCs, more than any other Southern

region in Italy, include Castel del Monte, Locoro- tondo, Martina Franca, Salice Salentino, Copertino, Squinzano and San Severo. Much of this region’s wine production is further processed into Vermouth. One of the reasons why Puglia can produce so much wine is due to the combination of its physical geography and

climate. Unlike the majority of Italy, Puglia is free of mountains, and consists of mostly flat, fertile plains that enjoy lots of sunny, dry weather – perfect condi- tions for grape growing.

SICILIA/SICILY Sicily (Sicilia in Italian) is located off the tip of the “toe” of Italy’s boot. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediter- ranean and has more vineyards than any other region in Italy. Once popular for producing Marsala and Moscato wines, quality is dominating quantity and the industry is shifting its focus toward producing white and red wines that are lighter and fruitier. Almost 75 percent of the wines produced are by cooperatives, with the quality en- velope being expanded by a growing number of private estates. Several well-known varieties like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon are grown in Sicily, but its native varietals such as Nero d’Avola are producing some of the finest wines. Some of the better- known DOCs are Alcamo, Etna, Moscato di Pantelleria and, the best known historically, Marsala.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Excerpts reprinted by permission of Total Wine & More. Founded in 1991, Total Wine & More is America’s largest independent retailer of wine, beer and spirits, with more than 130 superstores in 18 states. A four-time National Retailer of the Year award-winner, the company’s vast selection of prod- ucts provides a unique shopping experience. For more infor- mation or to shop online, please visit

Vineyard with Etna volcano in the background. Photo by BigDreamStudio/ | Winter 2016 | | 29

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