Great case of full bodied fruity red wines from Puglia. This region produces huge quantities of wine, probably more than the entire production of somewhere like Australia and approximately 17% of the total wine production in Italy, the world’s largest wine producing nation in terms of quantity. However, people are thirsty for Puglian wine. The region is hot, fairly flat and dry and all in all, it is pretty easy to grow grapes there and make wine. As a learned Italian wine importer friend of mine often says, ‘You throw a bucket of water against a wall in Puglia and the next day, a vine has grown there!’ In the past, many of the wines could have been labelled as unsubtle or even clumsy, made from over ripe fruit and lacking in acidity and freshness. However, smaller artisan producers who understand their local grapes well and avoid the use of chemical fertilisers which make for super ripe fruit are now producing lovely approachable wines which not only offer intensity of flavour and depth but also have that all important freshness. So here we have a great box of a dozen wines from two such small producers. Francesco Mocavero wouldn’t call himself a natural wine maker but he is a very good one. His 25 hectares in the Salento region outside of Lecce produce delicious well balanced reds which are so friendly and easy to drink that two bottles go in no time. Francesco’s vineyard has been in the family for generations and they certainly don’t use chemical fertilisers. Their production is as healthy as it can be without being full on organic. Crucial to the quality ois that Francesco always picks early, as early as the second week in August for his Primitivo and this keeps the acid in the berries. His wines are soft, round, juicy and very good. Then we have Fatalone based in the Goia del Colle, a small winery owned by 5th generation wine makers the Petrera family. They have always practised natural farming and the unique ‘Terroir’ of the region gives them wines of great substance, ageing potential and complexity. Fuller bodied than Mocavero with higher abv (15%!) and denser colours, these Primitivos are mighty beasts with dark prune and raisin fruit characters, very good for some duck or grilled veg and Pecorino cheeses.