Hello all, this is just a quick post about my visit to the We Are in Puglia roadshow last week at George’s Dock near the IFSC here in Dublin. I spotted via Niamh Shields, aka Eat Like a Girl on Twitter that the Puglian tourist board were having a roadshow/exhibition of sorts to promote the beautiful area of Puglia in Southern Italy.
If you’re not familiar with Puglia, think the heel of the boot of Italy. I have to admit I’ve not had the pleasure of visiting the region yet, except for when I was 17 and I went to Corfu with a bunch of friends and our plane got turned back and had to land across the Adriatic in Brindisi, which is in Puglia, and we were stuck there for 24 hours, but sadly we didn’t get to leave the airport! Anyway I digress. I popped down on the last day of the roadshow on Tuesday afternoon, and no sooner had I arrived than I was kicking myself for not coming down earlier, as I had missed the Extra Virgin Olive Oil tasting earlier in the day.
The exhibition was a large white marquee on the platform at Georges Dock, i.e. where the Christmas Market usually is. It was quite empty and almost deserted looking when I arrived, which was just at 5pm. There were lots of friendly Italian hosts to welcome me and a handful of fellow foodies/ wine lovers already hovering at the little bar to one side.
We had to wait a few minutes and then a sommelier type person (I’m not sure what he was exactly) came out and gave us a little guided tour of three of Puglia’s best wines, a red, a white and a dessert wine. For some bizarre reason he was only able to give the TINIEST of drops each, literally 5mls. So as you can imagine I wasn’t that impressed! I’m not sure what the legal reasons were, as he didn’t elaborate. It was such a pity as they were all lovely wines.
The white was first, and it was a gorgeous crispy, minerally white that reminded me of a Pinot Grigio. It’s a Roycello, a wine I’ve not heard of before. But I’ll be keeping an eye out for it now.
Next up was a red, a Primitivo, which was the only wine whose name I recognised, but I was not familiar with it. It was dark and heavy, and even a bit syrupy. His assistants brought around little glass jars with dried figs, cloves and cinnamon, which I suppose were tasting notes.
I don’t know much about wine, so I’m sorry for the lack of information. He also talked about the geography of Puglia, and how it’s surrounded by sea on both sides, so has a very hot, dry and harsh climate, which makes for a very rich and fragrant wine. Is fragrant the right word? I have no idea! But hopefully you get the idea. They grow lots of varietals down there, only some of which I recognised, like Syrah, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Nero, Pinto Grigio and many many more.
Their wines have traditionally been very high proof, even up to 16% or 17%!! In fact the wines that we tasted we all about 14%, but he said most years they would be higher. Since the 1990s, they have been working on getting the alcohol volume down for exports. Historically they were invaded by many other countries, like Greece, the Moors, Arabs and further east. So their wines reflect that Eastern Mediterranean Culture.
I was so impressed by the Primitivo in fact that the next day I spotted on sale in Tesco reduced by about a fiver to €8.50. We had it with our dinner that night, which was Donal Skehan’s Baked Risotto. It was perfect and Mr. Cooksalot was very impressed and declared it one of the best wines I’ve found in Tesco.
The final wine we got to taste was a sweet dessert wine, a Muscato di Trani, which is a type of Muscat. I don’t really drink dessert wines, except for port at Christmas, but it was lovely. The assistants brought around dried apricots and honey this time, and indeed it was very honeyish. I imagine it would go very well with many Italian desserts, especially anything with apricots.
I wish I could remember more about what the wine expert said about each wine. He sort of flew through them a bit, and I was too busy trying to take photos to get a chance to jot any of the info down! I gather that Puglia is an often forgotten destination in Italy, but I am dying to go now. In the meantime I’ll just have to make do with some more Primotivo, Roycello and Moscato!!
I must mention that there were lots of other attractions at the roadshow, such as a large screen n stage for presentations I imagine, a selfie booth, a bike with a huge screen in front of it that I imagine you could go on a virtual cycling tour of Puglia on and lots of lovely free postcards, brochures and other fun stuff. If I hadn’t gone there on my own, I would have tried them out, but maybe next time. Dublin was the last stop for the We Are in Puglia Roadshow this year, but this was only the first year of the event, so keep an eye out next year and make sure to get down and try some of the beautiful Puglian wine!
Update: The lovely people at Beautiful Puglia have included this blog post on their website, which you can see here: http://ow.ly/3nshtg
You can also see all of the other copious coverage of the roadshow there as well!!