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!
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
MASSERIA LI VELI