Looks Like Provence, Tastes Like Puglia: Tormaresca Calafuria Rosé

Long gone are the days when rosé was perceived as just an aperitif or cloyingly sweet. Contemporary drinkers know that this rosy-hued wine has the nimbleness to please an array of palates and complement meals that take place morning, noon, or night. 

Provençal rosé has been the go-to since this wine became a staple at brunch spreads, poolside cabanas, picnics, and more. But let’s face it: Bottles from the south of France have become ubiquitous, leading oenophiles to seek out the rosé less traveled. 

For those who desire something more unique and boutique, wine lovers need only turn their gaze farther afield to Italy’s eastern shore, where Tormaresca Calafuria Rosé is lovingly crafted. 


Rosé’s Hidden Gem

Although wine lovers are only beginning to discover the charms of Puglia, the Greeks colonized the region and began producing wine there in the 8th century B.C. — 200 years before making their way to Provence. Negroamaro is often said to be indigenous to Italy, but these ancient Greeks introduced it. Their winemaking practices were simpler than today’s, and their concept of red wine was lighter; grapes were pressed quickly, and the juices fermented, resulting in a pink, refreshing beverage. Calafuria, which means “bay fury,” is made in much the same way today, albeit with a few modern innovations. 

The warm days in Salento near Puglia’s southern tip are tempered by cool nights and ocean breezes, resulting in a wine with bright, mouthwatering acidity. The grapes are destemmed and gently pressed immediately after harvesting, resulting in a delicate pale pink wine. Fermentation in stainless steel allows the subtle elegance of Negroamaro to shine, resulting in stone fruit and citrus notes, with a hint of salinity and savory flavors.

Provençal rosés set the standard for patio-pounder, brunch wines — lovely but simple. Calafuria, on the other hand, is an expression of place, of terroir. The sun-drenched vines found in Puglia thrive near the ocean, and the vineyards at Masseria Maìme grow practically at the water’s edge. Negroamaro expresses its full potential near the sea and thrives in the calcareous soil formed from the shells and bones of sea creatures over millennia. In the hands of a deft winemaker, this grape yields elegant and refined rosés that delight even the most sophisticated palates.

The deep color and intensity of the berry result in a wine that, while a delicate pink, contains a depth of flavor not found in the table wine of Marseille or Nice. 

Both Provence and Puglia can claim gorgeous beaches, historical monuments, and ancient ruins, but the French Riviera is anything but a secret. Provence brings to mind vacationing celebrities, not to mention busloads of tourists attempting to check every box on a three-day itinerary. Puglia does not lack attractions and activities, but it retains its old-world charm and remains a region home to more locals than tourists, charming and traditional but with contemporary flair. In fact, it’s one of the most popular travel destinations for Italians (that’s how you know it’s good).  

“The region itself is one of the most exciting destinations in Italy,” Tormaresca CEO and native Apulian Vito Palumbo says, “boasting 600 miles of coastline, diverse cultures, architecture, and perhaps the most varied food culture in the country.”

Discover Puglia

The region of Puglia (sometimes called “Apulia” by English speakers) was first settled by the Greeks in the 8th century B.C. It was colonized by Romans, Turks, Slavs, Normans, and Spaniards over the centuries. Evidence of its long and storied history can be found in the ruins dotting the landscape. Puglia is Italy’s least mountainous and most fertile region, with winemaking traditions that go back centuries. 

“Puglia is the new world within the old world,” Palumbo says. “Some of the most ancient grape varieties in Europe are grown here, yet the wines are still to be discovered.” 

Who Is The Lady Puglia’?

The label of Calafuria sets the mood for this charming wine. Designed by artist Valeria Patrone, the bright, vivid colors bring to mind warm days and cool nights on the Mediterranean coast. The artist was hand-selected by Palumbo to match the romance and energy of the region and the wine. 

“We wanted to create an image that could portray the vibrancy of Puglia and the emotions of someone who drinks Calafuria,” he explains. “‘Lady Puglia,’ the name we affectionately call the woman portrayed in our logo, has ‘Puglia on her mind’ after a sip of our rosé: trulli, towers by the sea, ancient olive trees, our coastlines.” 

A Puglian Feast

Calafuria is a versatile wine, a perfect aperitif, and an elegant accompaniment to a hearty meal. Ideal with oysters, crab legs, and tuna crudo piled high on a seafood tower, Calafuria also has the complexity to pair alongside a cheese board or a selection of charcuterie: prosciutto and salumi served with olives, fig jam, and a crusty rustic loaf of bread. Try a glass with a plate of fresh grilled fish and summer vegetables like eggplant, okra, and tomato. 

But this isn’t just for fancy occasions, and perhaps it’s Palumbo who knows this wine best: “Sometimes the most humble pairing is the most fun. I’d never say no to a glass of Calafuria with some Italian pizza!” 

Elegant and Memorable

Palumbo, who hails from a Puglian winemaking family, has a profound love for the wines of the region and a deep respect for the practices that go into winemaking. “I believe a great wine must respect the characteristics of the grape and the soul of the terroir while still creating its own identity,” he says. “Our goal is to produce pleasant, elegant wines that are memorable because they convey something different from all the others.”

The name of this wine, “Calafuria,” is itself pleasant, elegant, and memorable, evoking the coves and caves that millennia of ocean tides have carved out of the limestone cliffs along 600 miles of Adriatic shoreline. The refreshing-tasting flavors bring to mind sun-drenched beaches and crystal-clear waters. 

This is a wine with versatility. Calafuria is something to enjoy with friends, whether near the sea or only thinking of it, on a charming bistro patio, or in the backyard on a warm summer night. Calafuria brings the flavors of the Mediterranean to any occasion, but more than that, it is distinctly Italian, distinctly Puglian. So, grab a bottle of Calafuria and be the one to introduce your friends to the remarkable flavors of a dazzling rosé from an underappreciated paradise. 

This article is sponsored by Tormaresca Calafuria Rosé.