This wine is deep red in colour. On the nose, there are intense aromas of ripe dark fruit, especially blackberries and cherries, with spicy notes of cocoa, lavender and liquorice. On the palate, it is youthful and full-bodied, with a great concentration of ripe, rounded fruit. It is a very elegant, fresh and complex Primitivo.
The grapes for this wine come from vineyards in the heart of the Primitivo growing region, located in the low hills east of Taranto in Puglia. The region is an old sea bed, full of fossils of clams, oysters and urchins. The altitude is approximately 20 metres above sea level and annual rainfall is 35 centimetres. The climate is classically Mediterranean as Puglia is a peninsula between the Adriatic and the Ionian seas. The Primitivo vines are quite old; most are the original plantings after phylloxera and range from 70 to 100 years old. As with most vineyards planted at that time they are small bush vines called ‘alberello’ which are non-irrigated and low yielding. The average Primitivo vineyard is quite small, less than half a hectare and the best sites have a crumbly, dark reddish brown soil that resembles instant coffee.
2017 was one of the best vintages A Mano have experienced. The weather was perfect, with a cold winter and dry, hot summer, and the vines responded to the excellent conditions. They started harvest on the 25th of August, about 12 days earlier than normal with fruit that was of astounding quality.
On arrival at the cellars, the grapes were pressed and destemmed, then allowed to ferment for 36 hours without intervention, then the free run juice was drawn off and the must was cooled to 12°C. After racking in mid-November, the wine remained in an underground cement tank, where the temperature did not exceed 10°C, until bottling.
Mark Shannon and Elvezia Sbalchiero, the duo behind A Mano, have worked in the wine business for most of their lives. Elvezia is a northern Italian wine marketing expert and Mark is a Californian winemaker. They fell in love with Puglia and, when they decided to start their own label, made it their home. By producing high quality wines, Mark and Elvezia have succeeded in making Primitivo one of Italy’s most talked about grape varieties. They pay high prices for the best grapes from 70-100 year old vines and focus solely on quality and a modern style.