When you think about Manduria, cities of the ancient Messapi, We immediately think of the Primitivo Wine. And’ a very close link between the wine and the territory, that gives the region a special charm, that tells an ancient history and tasting of tradition. In these lands from red copper color, not far from the beautiful and windy city of Taranto, wine culture has become one with that of the people who live there, a know-how passed down from family to family. We went to Manduria to discover the secrets of Primitivo, one of the most agrifood products that are contributing to the economic and tourist development of Puglia, and we were delighted by the territory, from the vineyards that reach the sea, by olive trees alternate with vineyards, from churches and palaces of Manduria. And, Obviously, also from the many good things that gives this corner of Puglia, always linked to the agricultural and pastoral world, ancient knowledge and customs memory. Today Primitivo di Manduria league, It supports and enhances all this territory: The Consortium brings together a team of around thirty wineries, call to protect this protected designation of origin that involves thousands of small local growers, for a total production of 25 million bottles. Numbers that tell clearly the weight of the Primitivo di Manduria and its social value.
MANDURIA – Manduria is a silent town, almost shy. Welcomes you with a lava stone cobbles: almost a barrier, both physical and psychological, which it is a kind invitation to proceed slowly, to respect her calm, its serene atmosphere and to enjoy all the details of a small historic heart but concentrated, become beautiful and solemn (although some restructuring in the center would be needed) over the centuries. The eighteenth-century and majestic Imperial Palace, in the vast Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, Manduria dominates and emphasizes immediately the importance of this agricultural center. little distant, the Town Hall (Former convent of the Piarist) and the Church of the Carmine. Taking a few steps on foot, You discover the elegance of the church of San Leonardo, built in 1704, which boasts one of the most beautiful facades of Manduria. In the streets of the historic core, give yourself plenty’ Free time to explore the streets, attravesando the Giudecca, the district that in medieval times was home to a colony of Jews. The beautiful array Church is around the corner: This building was the original nucleus around which arose the present town of Manduria after the destruction by the Turks back in 977. It was the Norman King Roger of Hauteville who wanted the reconstruction, with the descendants of the inhabitants remained, who took the name of Casalnuovo. Today the church and its beautiful rose window are guarded by two lions and the interior still retains all its beauty.
THE CELLARS: Vinicola Savese – Pichierri Wines – The first winery you must visit is the Vinicola Savese, Sava, which welcomed us Vittorio Pichierri, which it is really the historical memory of the Primitivo di Manduria. A man of unbreakable pride, immediately putting the record straight: “Primitivo is born here, in the cellar of the Primitive artisans”, showing with satisfaction the “capasoni”, large terracotta amphorae high more than a meter and a half, formerly used for storing wine. Backed run in the family winery by the brothers Cosimo, Roberto and Aldo (heirs of the work done by father Gaetano the early twentieth century), but also by children and grandchildren, Victor tells the origins of this wine: right in the town of Sava, the wine was called “Sava Wine” or “Sava Primitivo”, and only later it was called “Primitivo di Manduria”, because the tankers laden with wine and direct in northern Italy, and not only, just departed from the train station Manduria. in capasoni, Vittorio, the wine still does, together with that of steel and wood. The Vinicola Savese, created in 1951, bottling its products since 1972. And’ a small company, history, but very characterized, that in one of Primitivo wine tour can not miss. Among the most interesting wines tasted are: "Tradizione del nonno, vintage 2013": fruity, fresh and pleasing to the palate; Primitivo Doc Dolce Naturale (Vintage 2007) named “The Sava”, a great wine for dessert and meditation, that gives feelings of caramel and roasted notes, accompanied by an enviable drinkability. Note on the Capasonato (wine aged in amphorae), a must try: complex, sweet, with molasses notes, the ancient land, still it endowed with an acidity that mitigates and balances an alcohol content well supported (17,5% ABV.)
THE CELLARS: "Erario farm" – Tradition and modernity: the tax authorities Agricola is a small winery with his eyes constantly turned to the future. The company produces three generations is both oil and wine today is led by Roberto Erario and his wife Eleonora Brunetti, volitional and concrete. The main challenge, for them, is to combine respect for the past with the desire to experiment with new modern techniques and products so much so that, throwing the heart beyond the obstacle, They are thinking of producing a classic method sparkling wine with grapes of Puglia. Of this company, which it is located not far from the town center, we liked: “"Unico"”, Primitivo di Manduria 2013 Dop reserves for its intense fruit aromas, licorice, of coffee, for elegance and for soft and smooth tannins. Of note “"Idillio"”, Primitivo di Manduria naturally sweet DOCG (Vintage 2015), a wine with great drinkability, with a sweetness never too performed, accompanied by red fruit aromas typical of mature wines of these lands.
WHERE TO EAT: "Osteria i Mercanti" – Turn to sate the thirst cellar, but not hunger (although Puglia tarallini are available everywhere during the tasting and you will make a feast). To pause I recommend this restaurant which belongs to the family and Mero was born in the premises of the old stables of the castle, who in their long life was also transformed into a cinema (cinema Paisiello). Opened in the early seventies by his father Giuseppe Mero, Today the restaurant is run in the kitchen by her son Gregory, attentive chef and passionate breeder of local productions, who has chosen to work only daily fresh products, respecting tradition. We tried the classics of this country cooking: orecchiette and cavatelli, with a tasty tomato sauce Manduria, cacioricotta and seasoned with a few drops of spicy chili oil. Then, a dish created by Gregory: tagliolini with cod and cream of beans (all the pasta is handmade daily). Greedy veal meatballs, the pride of the local, rich and tender fillet with artichokes and sauce Primitivo. But, If you want, you can also enjoy a good pizza, with a thin and crispy base and high quality condiments. You can eat well with 25-35 euro.
THE CELLARS: "Produttori vini di Manduria" – The history of Primitivo di Manduria wine can not do without a visit to the Cantina Produttori di Manduria wines (Cpvini), other reality cooperative, born in 1932 and today the oldest still active in this area, it sells abroad 40% of its wines. Among the most interesting products, il "Leggiadro", white version, a classic method sparkling wine (i.e.: refermented in the bottle) obtained Fiano and Malvasia grapes, from very fresh with floral and fruity aromas and a very fine perlage. Among the Primitive types, try a Apulian Tarallo with "Elegia", a reserve Primitivo Doc aged for a year in barrels of French Allier wood, obtained from vineyards with over fifty years of age: the wine has characteristic aromas and intense ripe cherry and blackberry, with spicy notes, and a soft, round taste.
Primitivo Wine Museum. After visiting the winery and tasted the wine, ask absolutely visit, in the oldest and in underground tanks, The museum prepared with passion and with the contribution of all the city. The Museum of Civilization's Primitivo wine has now become of great importance ethnographic and documentary and the visitor is a real step back in time: the dirty, carved in stone, reconstruct the farmers and stately rooms of the houses of the past, and collect commonly used tools and utensils but also specifically inerentei the world of wine and its production. Visiting it is a wonderful experience, both for adults and for the little ones.
WHAT TO BUY. Speaking of Puglia means talking about grain and then of bread, but also to set them, Friselle and cookies. A Manduria you should definitely head to the bakery “Lu furnu” (the oven), where you can buy traditional specialties, and where every day the people of Manduria stand in line to buy the Friselle, Apulian focaccia with tomatoes and olives, buns stuffed with herbs, the legendary bagels to fennel aroma and delicious “intorchiate” (Here's the recipe).
THE CELLARS: San Marzano – And’ one of the most important realities of Primitivo di Manduria Doc. The landscape of San Marzano di San Giuseppe, not far from Manduria, It is dominated by the presence of this great winery cooperative, born in the sixties for the production of bulk wine, which was gradually transformed into a modern reality, which bottles most of its grapes and turn them into wines that are exported around the world. With 90 employees, It produces an average of ten million bottles. It has several projects in the drawer, such as the welcome for tourists among the historic vineyards and cellar area in the center of Manduria. Among the wines tasted, we recommend "Edda", a white made from Chardonnay grapes, moscatello wild overripe, Fiano minutolo which is fermented in wood for a few months; fresh and robust "Primitivo Sessant'anni" (Vintage 2014) aged for a year in oak barrels; full, warm and balanced with a plot very elegant tannins reserves the Primitivo 62 (Vintage 2014), that is aged for 18 months in wood.
WHERE TO SLEEP: If you are looking for a special place, do not hesitate and choose the’Court Hotel Borromeo, The recently opened and inserted in the beautiful Palazzo Dimitri, two minutes from the Mother Church. A splendid example of noble residence of the sixteenth century, that inside contains tanks, wells, stone walls that were part of the demolished medieval houses, in its time, to give rise to this dwelling, with the large Renaissance vaults. The rooms, spacious and bright, They are furnished in modern style (beautiful bathrooms and spacious showers) and the staff is courteous and polite and very young. We were welcomed like family: They were spoiled and pampered in every detail, even satisfying our desire to Apulian mozzarella and shredded for breakfast. Really nice place, In warm weather comes alive thanks to a restaurant and cocktail bar that serves cocktails in the large terraces that overlook the downtown alleys Mandurino.
THE CELLARS: Varvaglione – If there is a company that winks, intelligently, to younger consumers, keeping one foot firmly in the tradition, this is the Cellar Varvaglione, a Leporano. It all started in 1921 thanks to the work and passion of the great-grandfather of the young Marzia Varvaglione, which today represents the fourth generation of the family and that is continuing the work done by his father Cosimo and his wife Maria Teresa. With many attentions on packaging (I fell for the floral and tailoring certain bottles), with a new winery in 2014, through a well-designed marketing strategies, Varvaglione the wines are sold all over the world. The production is more than 3 and a half million bottles and style is decidedly modern, although some wines are produced with grapes from vineyards that are more than ninety years of life. So original the line of wines called “"12 e mezzo"”, but also the "Papale rosso" (Vintage 2015) a Primitivo that comes from the oldest vines of the company and that gives important fruity expressions, soft and elegant tannins. Do not miss the "Papale Oro" (Vintage 2014), a reserve Primitivo aged in French oak barrels and large American. A wine to be kept absolutely in your personal cellar.
WHERE TO EAT: Angelè pub – After dinner, if you have not sleep and you still want to spend some’ time in Manduria for the small hours, we suggest the particular and intimate Angelè Pub, Born in 1993 on the initiative of Carlo Pio Scacchetti, behind the walls of the Mother Church, musical heart and culture center, It became over the years a landmark for night life of generations of Taranto. Here, it is to breathe a family atmosphere, easygoing, between the ancient and the modern. The rooms are built in the underground oil mill of the seventeenth century, of which they are still preserved tanks and large wooden presses, which you can be seen as you sip a craft beer, with good fries.
THE CELLARS: Paolo Leo – Modern, experimental, young. The Cellar Paolo Leo It has leaned to the production of Primitivo di Manduria with the credentials to do well, changing over the years its philosophy and becoming a witness to the winemaking renewal of Puglia. Created at the initiative of father Paolo, now it uses, for oenology, the help of his son Nicola, formed in important wineries of northern Italy. The company is in San Donaci (province of Brindisi), family, and it is organic since 2002. From here out agreeable wines, suitable for general public, belonging to the most important DOC of Salento. Among the wines of Doc Primitivo di Manduria, we liked “Passo del Cardinale vintage 2016”: cool, fruity, Robust and never cloying. Really nice wine. Also considerable “Giunonico”, Primitivo Manduria Doc (Vintage 2013), fruity (lives and amarena), balsamic with evident hints of leather, Thanks to a precious aging in wooden barrels for twenty months.
WHERE TO EAT: Casamatta Restaurant – If you want to eat something different from the traditional cuisine of Manduria, but of course at higher prices, the right address is Vinilia Wine Resort, a castle which also houses the Casamatta Restaurant. Chef Pietro Penna and his team will delight you with dishes almost all zero kilometer (not only because the raw materials are local, but because the Vinilia also has a beautiful garden), that reinterpret in a creative and original cuisine from Puglia. We suggest you choose the chef's tasting menu (70 euro for seven courses), with the wines of the winery "Trullo di Pezza", the Parisi-Lacaita family, owner and creator of the recovery of the resort Vinilia. Inside, you will find a wide range of Primitivo di Manduria wines, but even an original cocktail menu, including cocktails, long drink, distillates.
Vinilia wine resort is first of all a big castle and a place to relax in a class setting. It is located in open countryside, five kilometers from Manduria, Scrasciosa in district. It was born in early 1900 as a summer residence of the Schiavone family. From medieval style, with crenellated towers on all four sides and a central tower, the castle has been restored, after years of neglect. The restoration was carried out in compliance with the existing materials, with the inclusion of furniture of different styles and eras, Fifties Art Deco to contemporary design. Eighteen rooms, all individually furnished with materials ranging from wood to wrought iron, the work of local artisans. Five suites with top view of the surrounding garden. Coming soon, There will also be a spa and a swimming pool.
THE CELLARS: Cantolio – Born in the sixties, on the initiative of a group of producers, Cantolio It is now an established reality, self-sufficient from an energy point of view (since 2008 it is powered by photovoltaic systems), pointing to express in his wines of the differences of Primitivo wine terroir. The two most interesting labels are Primitivo di Terra and Primitivo di Mare, in the glass that tell how important the underground to the characteristics of a wine. Red earth, iron and rich in clay for the Primitivo di Terra (called “14,0”, as its alcohol content) obtained from vineyards sapling of about sixty years of age; sand and limestone soils near the coast for Primitivo di Mare (named “15,0”) that, thanks to strong temperature fluctuations, It expresses with intense aromas and with a clear and very pleasant flavor.
IN SURROUNDING MANDURIA: Manduria has its old town in the hills, but is also a common sea. Its territory and its vineyards will push up the Ionian coast. The population of San Pietro in Bevagna, For example, you can visit the neo-Gothic church of San Pietro, set in a medieval tower. Or you can drive along the road, between the clear waters of Punta Prosciutto and dunes of Campomarino. A coastline where junipers and where even in winter no shortage landscapes and postcard views.
Primitivo di Manduria: characteristics of the wine
Primitivo di Manduria, to the sight, has a red-purple to orange with aging; the aroma is light and characteristic, dry taste, full, harmonious, tending to velvety with aging. The Primitivo di Manduria Dolce naturale has similar color but sweet, hot, full and harmonious; properties that are also found in sweet Primitivo di Manduria Fortified, but where alcoholic note becomes apparent. Pairings: Dry Primitivo di Manduria is a table wine that goes well with savory and structured dishes such as salami, spicy cheese, pork and pasta dishes with meat sauce like orecchiette. The Natural Sweet Manduria Primitivo is a meditation wine that goes well with dry pastries and with mature hard cheeses. Primitivo di Manduria Fortified Sweet, instead, best matches to more elaborate as pastry made from cream cakes.