Puglia in 13 Glasses:
Learn About and Taste 5 Extra Virgins,8 Wines, Plus 5-Course, Family-Style
Southern Italian Feast
Puglia produces almost half of Italy’s annual production of extra virgin olive oil and some of the most exciting wines in Italy today. But Puglia also exports most of the annual production of overly-ripe primitivo, giving the outside world a mistaken idea of what is really going on here. Course taught by sommelier of wine (AIS) and sommelier of extra virgin (FIS).
We start in in Lecce’s main piazza with a discussion on Italian food and wine and how it differs from both other European countries, and The New World.
Strolling past several churches of world-class architecture, we visit an enoteca to discuss the 4-tiered system- DOCG, DOC, IGT, VDT- and Italian wine labeling will be forever demystified, even before we even leave the store.
Back at the Lecce school, you’ll learn about the stages of production of extra virgin olive and taste three, side by side, noting their monovarietal nuances.
We’ll open the first two wines and the first round of food will arrive, perfect as blank canvases to taste our first three oils.
You’ll sip the first two wines as we discuss the history and geography of Puglia, and what makes it so extraordinary, even inside of Italy, a nation not lacking enogastronomic riches.
Gli antipasti will arrive.
We’ll open the next three wines, a high-elevation white, a sun-drenched pink from sea level and red grown near the salty shore.
You’ll begin to see Puglia as a small version of Italy, with all of its staggering climates, cultures and genetic biodiversity.
The pasta will arrive, with the same generosity and intensity of flavour as the family Sunday lunch.
You’ll begin to see extra virgin and wine from a sommelier’s perspective, seeking strengths and weaknesses in each and pairing each to what is on the table.
Three more oils and three more wines (big reds) to pair with impressive roast with local vegetables and DOP legumes.
We’ll linger over dinner and the wines-elbows on the table- and you’ll get a chance to chat with the other students, quite literally from all over the world.
One last wine- a sweet one to accompany a homemade dessert (9 wines total, actually but let’s say ‘8’ so we don’t give the impression that we’re overdoing it a bit)
We’ll walk you back to the main piazza and the next day you’ll receive our tasting notes, a list of the wines you had and the email addresses of the other guests from your night with us.
Please read this a few times. Most questions in emails seek these answers.
Where: Meet in Lecce’s main piazza, under the column. (Do Not Come to the School. We visit an enoteca first).
When: Starting at 18:00 (6pm). Tuesday evenings. See calendar. Book with an email.
Taught in: English
What’s included: All wines, lessons, tastings and a 5-course feast. What’s not included: a tip for the staff. Bring cash as well if you intend to buy any of our three extra virgin olive oils (if still available).
Only the staff cooks in this course. This is an extra virgin and wine class with feast but in this course you will not even enter the kitchen, whatsoever. Please consider booking on of our hands-on cooking courses the day before or after.
Length: From 18:00 until 24.00 or even 1:00, depending on the group.
Where you sleep: In the centre of Lecce. Our recommendations in Student Services (you’re given access upon booking).
How much? 195 Euro per person. Most people add this wine and oil class to hands-on cooking classes taken on Monday or Wednesday but they are not obligatory.
Where to Park: via Adua. This is Europe. Parking is rarely quick. Please plan accordingly.
Do I need to have sommelier training?
No. Everyone is welcome.
Do you have vegetarian option?
We will work with you to the best of our abilities but think of this evening as showing up to grandmother’s for a family-style meal.
Can we buy wine from you?
No, we are not legally set up to sell wine, even if we were to have an extra bottle or two on hand. We especially wouldn’t be able sell it to you as a friendly gesture of 10 Euro over retail.
Can we buy extra virgin from you?
Yes, either to carry away or delivered to your home.
Can you tell us where we can find these wines near our home?
No, no idea. We don’t know your local wine stores better than you do. Statistically, we’ve never been to your country.
Isn’t this class a bit excessive?
Only those that wake up the next morning in the park with their pants around their ankles every really think so.
Wine in Italy is organised in a 4-tiered system that resembles a pyramid. The wider the base the more rudimentary ‘farmer’ wine is made in the community, the wider the top the more ‘designer’ wine is made.
The system works the same as with tea or Scotch whisky.
At the bottom you have teabags and blended whiskies made by many people over a large land mass, usually on more rudimentary level.
It’s not that these are poorly made but rather they don’t harness tea or whiskies ability to taste like the unique place and season they are made.
But rather, wines- like tea and whisky- are at their best when they are made in small batches that reveal unique physical, climatic and cultural traits of where they are made.
An introduction to puglia in 13 glasses
List the wines and extra virgins of Puglia and it would sound like an awards show, the dizzying amount of DOPs, DOCs and DOCGs hogging the end credits.
Yet outside Italy, only one Pugliese grape is really known and most consumers think that Tuscany produces most of Italy’s extra virgin (rather than its meager 3% of the national production).
So what then is really happening here? And why should you care?
This course straddles the worlds of the classroom, wine cellar and dinner table, so that you’ll learn while enjoying, enjoy while learning.
Course taught about sommelier of wine (AIS) and sommelier of extra virgin (FIS).
While you will feast on this course, you will not be actually cooking and the food will be prepared by the staff. Consider taking an additional hands-on cooking course as well, either the day before or after.
Book now with an email.