Puglia’s Copertino Reserve 2005

There’s a perception to many that Puglia – the region that forms the “heel” of Italy – is home to only bulk wines. It may have been the proliferation of inexpensive Primitivo and it’s inherent similarities to Zinfandel that have shaped this idea or the fact that this hot region was known for its high yields and ultra-ripe fruit that commonly found its way into bulk wines or into distillation.

Puglia’s recent emphasis on quality terroir-driven wines led to the formation of regional identities like Salento and it’s smaller areas of Salice Salentino and Copertino. Here the main grapes are Negroamaro, Malvasia Nero and Primitivo with smaller plantings of Montepulciano, Sangiovese or even Aglianico. Copertino red wines – like Salice Salentino – are usually dominated by Negroamaro with Malvasia Nero in smaller doses.

Cantina Sociale’s Copertino Riserva 2005 is an example of the region’s recent focus on quality and its desire to keep the traditional rustic character of the region alive. Just uncorked this wine shows deep aromas of earth and tar. With a few minutes of aeration this wine becomes vibrant with bright red fruit aromas like cherry pit, blackberry and plum. Aromatically this wine has an amazing balance of old world character and a purity of fruit reminiscent of the new world.

Where this wine really shines is on the palate with once formidable tannins that have been finessed by time. There’s enough grip and acidity to balance out the perfectly ripe almost sweet fruit flavors we got on the nose. We’re stoked to have this Copertino and lovers of Italian reds shouldn’t hesitate to give it a go if they haven’t experienced Copertino before. It’s only $16 too!

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