Il miglior vino d'Italia!

By: Agostino Arpino

Most people can see the value in, well, value! The age old adage “you get what you pay for” isn’t always true. Especially when it comes to Puglian wine! Many of the best, most wallet-friendly Italian wines come from this sun soaked, arid region.


If you want fruit-forward, ripe, red wine for a good price, look no further than Puglia. Winemakers that call Puglia home are dedicated to producing great red wines. The local's [grapes] like Negroamaro, Primitivo, and Bombino Nero make for world-class wining! 

Of that fantastic trifecta, Primitivo is know for it's full-bodied rich characteristics as well as distinct fruit flavors.



The word Primitivo doesn’t mean primitive in Italian, but actually means early ripening since these grapes accumulate a lot of sugar early in the season. The early ripening means resulting wines are big, luscious and full of fruit. However, what’s fascinating about Primitivo is that sometimes the grape bunches ripen unevenly, so green grapes will get harvested along with the ripe ones.

Fun Fact: Primitivo is actually Zinfandel!

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Zinfandel/Primitivo is originally from Croatia, where it was first called Tribidrag or Crlenak Kaštelanski (pronounced “Kjell-nak Cas-tell-lansky”).


At some point in history it swam across the Adriatic Sea (the water in-between Croatia and the boot of Italy) and was planted in Puglia, where it took root surprisingly well. The Southern Italian immigrants, in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, brought their native grapes with them to California!

Let's take a virtual trip to some of our most favorite Puglian producers of Primitivo: Masseria Li Veli and Masseria Surani. 


Masseria Surani is a new project in Puglia started by Tommasi, one of the historical and leading producers of Amarone, and one of the most important quality producers in the Veneto.

In 2012 the Tommasi family expanded its holdings in the south of Italy, purchasing 198 acres in the region of Puglia. The new property, known as Masseria Surani, is situated in the Salento Peninsula, the southeasternmost part of Italy. The term ‘Masseria’ refers to a traditional farm house in the countryside of Puglia. These houses were typically built out of sandstone and surrounded by high walls in order to protect its residents from attacks by Turkish pirates in the 16th century. Once a complex of agricultural buildings, Masseria Surani has been newly refurbished with vinification and maturation facilities. It is located in Manduria, one of the finest zones for the cultivation of the Primitivo grape, and is surrounded by 136 acres of organically farmed vineyards planted using the high-density, low-yielding Guyot training system. Manduria was first colonized in 700 BC by the ancient Greeks, providing the inspiration for Tommasi’s new range – all the wines are named after Greek gods.

“The wines have a classic feel that is very attractive.” Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media

“On this happy occasion, the 110th Anniversary of one of Italy’s most influential wine estates, it gives me great pleasure to remind readers of this book that among its many great accomplishments, Tommasi is one of the Amarone’s most renowned ambassadors to the world.” Monica larner, Italian Critic, Wine Advocate



In 1999 the Falvo family, with over 40 years of experience in the wine business, purchased and renovated the property to give birth to an ambitious project in Apulia, a region with a long vine-growing tradition.

Masseria Li Veli is located on an ancient Messapian site dominating the fertile and sunny Salento plain. It was founded by the Marquis Antonio de Viti de Marco (1858-1943), an internationally known Italian economist and university professor, Radical Party Deputy of the Reign of Italy, whose ambitious project was to transform the Masseria into a model cellar for the entire South. Today the beautifully restored Masseria covers an area of 33.000sqm, 3750 of which include offices, a reception area, vinification, storage and ageing cellars.

All wines are produced in the large cellar built in a light coloured stone, carparo, similar to the local pietra leccese. Beyond the main entrance is the barrel cellar, protected by a large glass door and located on the ground level beneath groin vaults. An air-conditioning system set at 16° guarantees an ideal temperature. The total capacity of the cellar is of approximately 10,000 hectoliters, divided between steel vats and about 400 French oak barriques. The ancient storage cellar now houses modern fermentation tanks: eight horizontal submerged cap vats with a capacity of 125 hectoliters and ten vertical vessels with a capacity of 130 hectoliters, which allow pumping over with fractioned and programmed délestage, must aeration, total programme management and traceability of the vinification. Owing to the high flexibility of these machines the processing phases can be adapted and programmed according to the specific winemaking procedures of the various grape varieties. Bottling and storing of bottles for ageing takes place in the same building, in separate areas.