Matthew's World of Wine and Drink

About Matthew's World of Wine and Drink.

This blog began as a record of taking the WSET Diploma, during which I studied and explored wines and spirits made all around the world. Having passed the Diploma and become a WSET Certified Educator, the blog has become much more: a continual outlet for my passion for the culture of wine, spirits, and beer.

I aim to educate in an informal, enlightening, and engaging manner. As well as maintaining this blog to track my latest enthusiasms, I provide educational tastings for restaurants and for private groups. Details can be found on the website, and collaborations are welcome.

Wine is my primary interest and area of expertise and this blog aims to immerse the reader in the history of wine, to understand why wine tastes like it does, and to explore all the latest news. At the same time, beer and spirits will never be ignored. 

For the drinker, whether casual or professional, today is a good time to be alive.

Villa Schinosa Nero di Troia 2016

Villa Schinosa Nero di Troia 2016

In my podcast last week, I talked about southern Italy. I mentioned the grape variety Uva di Troia as one of the best indigenous grapes in Puglia, Italy's heel, but that it was almost impossible to find outside the region. So of course two days I walked into my local wine shop here in California and there was a bottle of Uva di Troia on the shelf ....

It's certainly extremely unusual to see it outside Italy and I bought the bottle without hesitation. Uva di Troia has generally been used as a blending grape, adding balance and freshness to other local varieties such as Negroamaro, Primitivo, or Montepulciano. But the last twenty years have seen an increased amount of single-varietal wines.

Legend has it that the grape was brought to Puglia from the Trojan War, but it's more likely that it's named after the local town of Troia. There are 1,800ha planted in Puglia, making it the region's third-most planted black grape. It's a required component in three local DOCs: Rosso Canosa (65% minimum Uva di Troia), Rosso Barletta (70-100%), and, the most widely available, Castel del Monte Rosso which is a blend of Montepulciano, Aglianico, and Uva di Troia.

The bottle I found isn't a DOC but is registered under the Puglia IGP - it's common to find Puglia producers using the more relaxed IGP rules to release quality, affordable wines. It's a very good example of what makes wines from Uva di Troia so balanced and inviting, with a noticeable minty nose, plenty of red fruits (redcurrants, raspberry, strawberry, and cherries), and pretty floral aromas of roses and violets. On the palate, the dry, gripping tannins are balanced by the high acidity the grape is known for. A fun, quaffable wine that's also very unusual.

Price: $18

Vintage: 2016

Grape Variety: Uva di Troia

Alcohol: 13.5%

Region: Puglia, Italy

Rating: ✪✪✪✪

Drink: now-2021

Food pairing: sausages; grilled meat; duck; hard cheese

Flotsam & Jetsam Cinsault 2016

Flotsam & Jetsam Cinsault 2016

Garage Wine Company Vigno 2014

Garage Wine Company Vigno 2014