by Qian Leung
At Rivera, third-generation winemaker Sebastiano de Corato takes time to explain how Puglia is a patchwork of different regions, each with their unique varietals. "Primitivo means early ripening; it is the first varietal that ripens," says de Corato. "Negroamaro also ripens early, and they are harvested in August and September respectively." Nero di troia is late-ripening, harvesting in October. To protect themselves from the elements, these grapes develop a thick skin, and this is why they have more tannins. Montelpuchiano, grown in northern parts of Puglia alongside nero di troia, makes the perfect blending grape, as it is softer. "For rosato, we have two different styles," says de Corato. "Salento, which is made from negroamaro, and Castel del Monte, which is made with bombino nero." As for white wine, he explains that the production in northern Puglia is bigger, because of the cooler climate. "In the north, we have bombino bianco; in the south, we have malvasia bianca."