Southern Italy refers to the toe and heel of Italy’s ‘boot’, and the nearby islands including Sicily and Sardinia. This fast-developing part of Italy has a warm Mediterranean climate which helps make rich red wines with a touch of raisin, spice and chocolate. The key wine regions are as follows.
Puglia produces wines from a mixture of local and international varieties. It is the home for Primitivo (also known as Zinfandel in California) which is responsible for the best, powerful reds in this region. Good-quality international white varieties such as Chardonnay are also found here.
This region is particularly known for producing quality reds made from the Aglianico grapes, with Taurasi being the most important DOCG. It also benefits from fine local white varieties such as Fiano and Greco, which are used to make aromatic white wines with a touch of pears, peaches and nuts.
Situated off the “toe” of the “boot”, the Sicily island (or Sicilia in Italian) enjoys the largest area under vines in Italy. Typical Mediterranean climate gives vineyards on the hillside an opportunity to shine and sufficient sunshine, warm summers and sharp temperature difference gives wines from this island real character. The white grape Catarratto is the most widely planted variety in Sicily while Chardonnay is the most popular International white variety. They are both responsible for some serious Sicilian white wines. The dark-coloured, tannic Nero d’Avola is the most important red grape in Sicily. International varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are also gaining momentum too.
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