Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale DOCG | Red wine made from 100% Primitivo grown in the area of Manduria, which is part of the Salento region of Puglia. It was created in 2011 as a separate denomination from Primitivo di Manduria DOC. The Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale DOCG was recognized with the Ministerial Decree 23/02/2011 – G.U. n. 57 of 10-3-2011.
Production zone | In the province of Taranto, the territories of the municipalities of Manduria, Carosino, Monteparano, Leporano, Pulsano, Faggiano, Roccaforzata, San Giorgio Jonico, San Marzano of San Giuseppe, Fragagnano, Lizzano, Sava, Torricella, Maruggio, Avetrana and that of the fraction (‘frazione’) of Talsano and the administrative islands of the municipality of Taranto, enclosed in the territories of the municipalities of Fragagnano and Lizzano.
Terroir | The territory in which the production area of DOCG. Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale is essentially characterized by two types of landscape: the Arco Jonico (Ionian Arch) and the Salento peninsula. The Ionian Arch (coastal area) mostly affects the coastal area and includes the municipalities of Carosino, San Giorgio Ionico, Monteparano, Roccaforzata, Faggiano, Lizzano, Leporano, Pulsano, Fragagnano, Sava, Maruggio, and Manduria. It extends from the Ionian coast to the base of the Murge, to the west up to the Fossa Bradanica and to the east up to the contact with the North Western Salento. The morphology derives from the frequent and brief transgressive-regressive sedimentary cycles that have affected the area since the Middle Pliocene, giving the landscape the typical “stairway” appearance consisting, precisely, of a series of escarpments that gradually descend towards the coastline, along which it is possible to observe a dune system to which extensive retrodunal depressions are associated.
Climate | The climate is Mediterranean with fairly mild winters (average temperature 6-7 ° C) and hot summers (average maximum temperature 25-26 ° C). Rainfall is around 650 mm of rain per year concentrated mainly in the winter period.
The Salento or Salento Peninsula is the predominant typology of the Municipalities of Avetrana, San Marzano di San Giuseppe, Torricella, Torre dell’Ovo, Campomarino, S. Pietro in Bevagna, Torre Colimena, Oria, S. Susanna, Erchie, thus affecting the south-eastern part of the entire Tarantino territory. It appears as a rather complex territory in which sub-flat surfaces (in the areas located between Lecce and Brindisi) alternate with limestone reliefs (Salento greenhouses???). The greenhouses present in the southernmost part are characterized by narrow and elongated calcareous or dolomitic reliefs that break here and there in flat erosive furrows. The Salento peninsula, being stretched out to the sea, is characterized by a more humid climate than the rest of Puglia, where instead the presence of the Apennines reduces the humidity contribution of the winds from the west.
The humidity does not translate into rainfall, however more conspicuous than in northern Puglia, but determines a clearer alteration of the perceived temperature: the summer seasons, especially in the southernmost areas, are particularly sultry, while the winter seasons, albeit very mild and abundantly above zero even in the coldest periods, they appear icy above all in the presence of wind.
In the whole territory of DOCG. the use of the land is like a mosaic, with vineyards alternating with arable land and sparse olive groves.
Soils | A detailed analysis of the soils leads to consider that in the western part of the production area, deep clay loamy soils predominate which become sandy and thin, descending along the coastal area thus allowing only a reduced radical deepening. This typology actually laps the eastern part of the Municipalities of Sava and Lizzano. Proceeding westwards, we note that the Municipalities of Manduria, Sava and Avetrana are characterized by the alternation of thin and deep soils, mostly of medium texture and not very suitable, with radical deepening beyond 50 cm. The three Municipalities of the Province of Brindisi are mostly characterized by loamy loamy soils, with medium texture and good drainage, slightly asphyxiated in the strip that covers the western part of Oria and the Municipality of Torre S. Susanna. Erchie has a territory with tendentially thin soils that guarantee good drainage and availability of oxygen. Looking at the coastal strip we can see the clear prevalence of very thin loam or loamy soils with substrate within 25-50 cm, therefore absolutely not suitable for radical deepening beyond 50 cm. As you move inward, the terrain tends to become deeper, thus not presenting any particular limitations on use, except, in sporadic cases, drainage problems and consequently radical asphyxia. On the basis of the podological characteristics there are no particular factors limiting the cultivation of the vine, indeed the whole area and its soils are considered extremely suitable for high quality viticulture. Considering the essentially flat area and remarkably homogeneous from the climatic point of view, there are no specific requirements and indications on the attitude, exposure and position of the vineyards.
Human factors | Of fundamental importance are the human factors linked to the production area, which have contributed to the production of the “Primitivo di Manduria” wine.
In the first thirty years of 1900 prof. Giuseppe Musci (1879-1946), Director of the Antifilosserico Consortium of the province of Bari, contributed to the development of the new viticulture in Puglia with an incessant activity witnessed by numerous articles, brochures and texts including one dedicated to the “Primativo di Gioia” dated 1919 In the text, Musci traces the origin, to date never denied, of the first selection of Primitivo to 179 by the priest Don Francesco Filippo Indellicati (1787-1831), Primicerio of the chapter of the mother church of Gioia del Colle (Ba ) as well as expert botanist and agronomist. Indellicati, having noticed and appreciated the vine within an old polyvarietal vineyard located in the countryside of Gioia del Colle, renamed it Primativo or Primaticcio by virtue of its early ripeness and considering it suitable for the typically Apulian red lands, he made a vineyard by cutting a vineyard monovarietal rational in the Terzi district. Il Vitagliano (1985), espousing the thesis of Gioiese origin, states that as early as 1868, in the Marchesana, Terzi, Castiglione and Parco Busciglio of the agro di Gioia districts, around 6,000 hectares were cultivated with Primitivo. In support of what has been said, there is no lack of illustrious bibliographical references from the end of the 1800s, that is, in an era characterized by the birth of the ampelography discipline throughout Europe and by the first attempts to associate each grape variety with a specific area of cultivation. Even earlier, G. Perelli (1874) and D. Froio (1875) had briefly described the ampelographic, productive and oenological characteristics, resulting, to date, among the first witnesses of the ancient presence of the vine in Puglia. Dr. Antonio Carpenè, in his note “Around some wines of the Bari” mentions a wine “Primitivo di Turi” of vintage 1867, and this, in confirming the authenticity of the Apulian grape variety, raises a question on the origin purely Gioiese of its cultivation.
In 1887 De Rovasenda noted that “the Primitivo, cultivated in the Land of Bari (Altamura, Bitonto, Turi) ripens its grapes very early and can make a good wine ….; gives a liqueur wine in some places ”. This ancient quote probably represents the first reference of a type of wine produced with partially passite grapes similar to the current natural dessert of D.O.C Primitivo di Manduria.
In the plain of Manduria the Primitivo probably arrived at the end of the nineteenth century, thanks to some vine shoots brought by the Countess Sabini of Altamura, married to Tommaso Schiavoni Tafuri, who started cultivation in the lands of his property, dunes of Campomarino , a coastal village fraction of Maruggio. The first label of which we have evidence of the Primitivo from the Schiavoni Tafuri vineyard dates back to 1891 and bears the name “Campo Marino”. It is said that the Manduria nobleman was so jealous of this wine, which soon proved to be of great structure, that only a select few of his friends were allowed to taste. All this obviously does not exclude that the grape was already present in Apulia, on the Murgia of Bari or along the Ionian-Tarantino area (Baldassarre, 2003).
The fame of the Tarantine or Aulonia area in the Roman era, praised for its fertility and abundance in the Ome VI of the Carmina di Orazio, is singular: “More than any other corner of the earth / smiles me where the honey is no less than that of the Imetto / and the olive tree competes with that of Venafro / where Jupiter alternates long springs and warm winters / and the Aulone friend of the fertile Bacchus has nothing to envy of the Falerno grapes “. The Mera Tarantina, the prestigious wines produced in the territory of ancient Aulonia, were compared by Orazio to the famous Falerno, of which they reproduced the qualities of longevity, austerity and strength. The legendary comparison between the two wines, in supporting the thesis of a contribution of Primitivo to their composition, is supported by the recognition of the ancient presence of the vine in the Caserta area, in the same area where in the Roman era the famous Falerno was produced, with the DOC “Falerno del Massico Primitivo”. To this reference Vitagliano notes “The fact that in this same area of the province of Caserta, locally, the vine is called Primitivo of Lecce suggests that it has somehow arrived from Puglia, and in particular from Salento”.
In 1629, the monopolitan patrician Prospero Rendella in his “Tractatus de vinea, vindemia et vino” praised the qualities of Tarentinum wine. And such a prestigious wine necessarily had to be born from a vineyard of superior quality and strongly adapted to the environment. And then one could also think that the Primitivo brought to Manduria by the Countess Sabini of Altamura has marked a fortuitous return of a vine widespread in the same area in a much more remote era.
The recent work “From the merum to the Primitivo di Manduria”, in the valiant attempt to reconstruct the millenary plot between the history of the Apulian people and the wine, adds interesting pieces to the thesis of an ancient presence of the district of Manduria of the Primitivo variety or at least of a similar one (Filo et al., 2004). The book describes the fame of the so-called “terrible fair” of Manduria, known, in the Angevin period, for the goodness and abundance of wine that came from the neighboring municipalities and speaks of the abbot Pacichelli, who during his journeys on Earth In Otranto in the last decades of the seventeenth century, he paused to observe the great wine production of Casalnuovo, today’s Manduria.
Its phenological life is shorter than other varieties: in spite of its early ripening it is, in fact, of late budding and therefore not subject to the damage of frost, the flowering is delicate and discreetly resistant to the attacks of cryptogamic diseases. A unique feature of Primitivo is that is produces the so-called feminine, in the area known as racemes, reach perfect ripeness after the first harvest. In fact, about a month after the first harvest, the racemes were harvested, which undoubtedly represented different characteristics from the main bunches, nevertheless the resulting must was vinified in purity and the wine obtained was drier and more tannic and more colored than the one coming from the first harvest.
Over the centuries viticulture has maintained the role of prince of the territory, up to the present.
Irrigation | Emergency irrigation is allowed.
Viticulture | New vineyards must be planted at a minimum density of 3,500 vines/ha. 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 7 tonnes/ha. Base wine yields are 42 hectolitres per hectare. In favourable years an extra 20% is allowed.
The blend | 100% Primitivo. Minimum alcohol: 16%.
Filippo Bartolotta, ‘Southern promise,’ Decanter, Italy supplement 2016, p79-82.
The Oxford Companion to Wine 3rd edition ed. Jancis Robinson MW (Oxford University Press, 2006).