Squinzano is a DOC of the Puglia wine region in the south-eastern corner of Italy. Introduced in 1976, at the same time as its western neighbor Salice Salentino, the title covers red and rose wines made from Negroamaro, the classic grape variety of the Salento peninsula (the 'heel' of Italy). Malvasia Nera and Sangiovese are also permitted, and soften the tannic, tangy notes of Negroamaro, whose name (meaning 'black bitter') betrays its sharp nature. These two other varieties are limited to a combined maximum representation of 30%.
Squinzano is one of approximately 15 DOCs in Italy's 'heel', and lies roughly halfway between Matino in the south and Martina in the north. The terroir here is typical of southern Puglia: a hot, dry climate and topography consisting of coastal plains leading down the Adriatic Sea just south of Brindisi. The vineyards here are ancient, and share the soil with endless olive groves; Puglia is known as a prolific source of olive oil (it is responsible for almost half of Italy's annual production) and wine. Fortunately it is now beginning to shake off its reputation for creating blending wines as baked and featureless as the land itself. A number of producers are focusing on quality rather than quantity, and the Squinzano name will undoubtedly benefit from this change.