Insight of a winemaker: the wines from Terra della Gravine, a heritage to discover

My name is Vito D’Onghia, I’m a winemaker and I produce natural wine in Terra della Gravine, an extraordinary region of Puglia, dotted with authentic vineyards, secular farmhouse and whitewashed stone walls.

Here, water has carved into the rock, over the millenia, those we know as “gravine”, deep incisions wich tear the ground and are arranged, like a perfect painting, in parallel with each other, from the tableland of Murge to the costal plain of the Golfo of Taranto. These are real canyons, huge fissures with high rock faces that  hide, still today, historical remains of very ancient rupestrian villages and breathtakingly beautiful scenarios. Terra delle Gravine is therefore a one-of-a-kind karst territory, capable of giving, by osmosis, extraordinary peculiarities to his wines.

Nevertheless, these so fresh and harmonious wines struggle to get the recognition they would deserve, like it happens to the hidden treasures which find it difficult to show themselves in all their value until they are discovered and appreciated. Sure, if in the distant past Apulian wines were little known and only considered for “cutting” the alcohol content of other regions’ wines, often in the North, nowadays this distorted image has been completely overtaken, leading to the rediscovery of native vines like the Fiano Minutolo, the Negroamaro, the Bianco d’Alessano or the Primitivo, now symbol of a high quality wine production.

Puglia extends along an immense geographic area, encloses different landscapes and souls that give rise to blends of a strong and recognizable identity, but always differing for characteristics and drinkability. Between the various, the wines of Salento are mainly the ones that we all know in Italy and abroad, wines that succeeded in establish themselves on the market and that know how to get recognized on the palate, but that do not mask a high proportion of alcohol which makes them warm, full and anything but light. Instead, wines from Terra delle Gravine express elegantly the calcareous essence of the territory which they come from, presenting a marked minerality and sustained alcoholic levels that ensure softness to the palate and magnificent pairings at the dinner table. Suffice it to say that a Primitivo rarely exceeds 13,5 % abv, Negroamaro doesn’t go beyond 11,5/12 % abv and Fiano Minutolo struggle to reach 11 %abv.

The intense and fruity scents of wines of Terra della gravine are light like the sea breeze caressing its grapes, embracing like the sun that warms up its vineyards and authentic like the genuine production methods that Puglia tradition has preserved and passed on to us winemakers until this day.

The minerality that characterizes them recalls the mineral and calcareous composition of the ground and gives origin to a freshness that can’t be dignified with words, but it is meant to be savored with all five sense, letting it inebriate the nostrils, fill up the view and thrill the mouth.

Because of that I tell my story, I tell my wine, I tell my land. I do this because, as a winemaker, I want Terra delle Gravine to become more aware of the inebriating wines it produces and to begin to value them as heritage capable of making us proud overseas and worldwide.

We are in a land of great wines and small wineries, only together we can make a difference. Let’s share our tenacity, the love for our vines and the commitment to our work, let’s join forces to oppose the idea that Apulian wines are too full-bodied and dense or that Puglia is necessarily synonymous with Salento.

And you, dear connoisseur, you do not settle, but instead set out on the path towards oenological realities that, although small, offer genuine nectars far from conventional wines and they represent values like tradition, territory and respect for nature.

Let yourself be carried away by the ancestral flavors and scents of a land formed from water and shaped by rock, kissed by the sun and mitigated by the wind. Discover the wines of Terra delle Gravine, they’ll surprise you.

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