Primitivo di Manduria DOC is a red wine DOC dating from 1974. The wine is based on Primitivo grapes from a specific area in the provinces of Taranto and Brindisi in the Puglia region of Italy, the area of Manduria which is part of the Salento region. The local Primitivo grape was highly prized as a high-strength blending ingredient by many producers of Amarone (Oxford Companion, 2006, p.548). This would make sense from a winemaking (if not legal) perspective) given that there exists (since 2011) the Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale DOCG version which relies on over-ripe, and sometimes shrivelled grapes and comes from the same production area as Primitivo di Manduria DOC.

CommunesBrindisi province: Erchie. | Oria. Torre S.Susanna. Taranto province: Manduria, Carosino, Monteparano, Leporano, Pulsano, Faggiano, Roccaforzata, San Giorgio Jonico, San Marzano di San Giuseppe, Fragagnano, Lizzano, Sava, Torricella, Maruggio, Avetrana, and that of the hamlet of Talsano and the administrative islands of the municipality of Taranto, which are enclosed in the territories of the municipalities of Fragagnano and Lizzano.

Terroir: Northern Manduria has ‘tufaceous soil, iron-rich with clay,’ according to Luca Attanasio (quoted by Filippo Bartolotta, 2016).

Viticulture: New vineyards must be planted at a minimum density of 3,500 vines per hectare. The forms of training and pruning systems allowed are Puglia bush vine (‘alberello Pugliese’) which is spur pruned, and espalier (replacement cane pruning to Guyot, or spur pruned to cordon). The fruiting head of the vine must be no higher that 1 metre from the ground. Emergency irrigation is allowed. Yields must not exceed 9 tonnes/ha for both the ‘normale’ and the ‘riserva’. In favourable years an extra 20% is allowed.

Winemaking: Minimum alcohol: 13.5% for the ‘normale’ and 14% for the Riserva. Chaptalisation or enrichment is not permitted. The wines must be made within the confines of the production zone. The ‘normale may be released from 31 March following the harvest and the riserva another two years after that. The riserva must spend at least 9 months in oak starting any time after 01 November of the year of harvest. Wines must be sold in glass containers, the maximum size of which is 15 litres. Minimum total acidity: 5g/l. Minimum dry extract: 26 g/l. Maximum residual sugar: 18g/l. The vintage date must be shown on the label.

Red wines

Primitivo di Manduria DOC | This is made from 85-100% Primitivo grapes plus an optional 0-15% non-aromatic red wine grapes authorised for the provinces of Taranto and Brindisi. Minimum alcohol level: 13.5%. The wine can be released from 31st March following the harvest.

Primitivo di Manduria DOC Riserva | Minimum alcohol level: 14%. The wine must age 24 months of which 9 months must be in oak. The wine can be released from 31st March in the second year following the harvest.

Wineries

Certified organic, Biodynamic practices: Morella.

Certified organicIl Noce di Ugo Arnò. | Ognissole.

No certification: Attanasio. | Cantina Produttori Vini Manduria. | Cantine San Marzano. | Ionis.

Bibliography

Filippo Bartolotta, ‘Southern promise,’ Decanter, Italy supplement 2016, p.79-82.

The Oxford Companion to Wine 3rd edition ed. Jancis Robinson MW (Oxford University Press, 2006).