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Primitivo di Puglia, A Mano 2019

Red Wine from Italy - S Italy and Islands
This primitivo has great freshness and lift, despite a full-fruited body and intense style. Fresh raspberries and blackcurrants on the nose, with a little spice developing on the palate. A lovely example of this southern Italian classic.
Price: £9.50 Bottle
Price: £57.00 Case of 6
In Stock
Code: IT30591

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Full-bodied
  • Primitivo
  • 13.5% Alcohol
  • No oak influence
  • Now to 2022
  • 75cl
  • Screwcap

Southern Italy

In ancient times this was the main source of high-quality wines from the peninsula of Italy The Greeks had introduced viniculture through their colonies there and named the bottom half of the peninsula ‘Oenotrai’ or land of wine, and the Romans expanded on the tradition, particularly in the Campania where many wealthy citizens owned vast estates and some of the most famous wines of the empire were made, such as Falernum. Some grape names appear to reflect the Greco-Roman influence (greco, aglianico), though this may be more about folk-memory than fact as there is no ampelographical evidence linking these varieties to any Greek ancient forbears.

Campania itself is the area around Naples and Mount Vesuvius. Naturally there are volcanic soils in the vicinity and as the vineyards climb the Apennines there is altitude to cool the grapes as they ripen. As such there is a balancing freshness to the fruity wines. Greco di Tufo, fiano (especially from Avellino) and falanghina are among the ...
In ancient times this was the main source of high-quality wines from the peninsula of Italy The Greeks had introduced viniculture through their colonies there and named the bottom half of the peninsula ‘Oenotrai’ or land of wine, and the Romans expanded on the tradition, particularly in the Campania where many wealthy citizens owned vast estates and some of the most famous wines of the empire were made, such as Falernum. Some grape names appear to reflect the Greco-Roman influence (greco, aglianico), though this may be more about folk-memory than fact as there is no ampelographical evidence linking these varieties to any Greek ancient forbears.

Campania itself is the area around Naples and Mount Vesuvius. Naturally there are volcanic soils in the vicinity and as the vineyards climb the Apennines there is altitude to cool the grapes as they ripen. As such there is a balancing freshness to the fruity wines. Greco di Tufo, fiano (especially from Avellino) and falanghina are among the best white wines, characterful and perfumed. Of the red varieties it is aglianico that makes the most impressive examples on the volcanic soils of Taurasi, though there is potential promised and realized in other varieties like piedirosso.

There are excellent aglianico wines from Basilicata, the once impoverished region on the instep of the Italian boot. Inland on the border with Puglia, round the extinct volcano of Monte Vulture, the aglianico grape performs admirably to produce powerful ageworthy red wines that retain a thread of finesse.

Calabria is the toe of the boot, and another region of limited economic development in recent decades. From one end of the province to the other mountains form a spine and, unlike in Campania, the vineyards producing the best wines are on the flat. In particular the DOC of Cirò on the Gulf of Taranto in the east of the province produces perfumed red wines from the indigenous gaglioppo grape.

Across the Apennines on the Adriatic coast lies Puglia, a region that has begun to overcome a longstanding reputation for producing wines for bulk export but is now producing a range of fascinating good-value red wines from varieties like negroamaro, primitivo (aka zinfandel in California) and uva di troia. In the right hands all of them are capable of making very fine wines with plenty of ripe fruit, concentration and structure but without the overpowering alcohols that a hot climate and indifferent winemaking once routinely produced. They are also often excellent value. Puglia is largely flat, almost table-like lacking the softening effects of altitude must rely on the air conditioning of the sea and the skill of the winemaker to make balanced wines. Vines are consistently bush trained to retain shade and moisture. The best wines come from the Salento peninsula where the sea is on three sides and the best producers reside. Full-bodied negroamaro from Brindisi and Copertino and primitivo from soils underpinned by limestone in Manduria can be excellent Whites tend to be greco, fiano and minutolo, and there are some well-flavoured rosé wines as a speciality of the region. Whites too are now catching up in quality.

Sicily has shown itself to be one of the most forward thinking Italian regions in recent years, with an awakening pride in the quality that can be achieved on this hot, socially complex and culturally saturated island. Sicily was once famous for the fortified Marsala wines that Nelson bought to victual his Mediterranean fleet, but as this fame and the sales that went with it dwindled many producers recognised that there was a need to produce table wines of greater quality. Bulk wine still leaves the island in tankers but there has been something of a revolution in viticulture and viniculture and Sicily now produces some of Italy’s best and most interesting wines. Nero d’Avola has been a conspicuous success, and makes everything from fruity entry-level reds to powerful, ripe and structured reds that can age and is often a major component in high-quality blends with syrah, cabernet and merlot. Mount Etna is a source of fine reds and whites of depth, finesse and zest, grown on the slopes of the famous volcano. Altitude and volcanic soils provide excellent conditions for the local nerello mascalese, nerello cappuccio and carricante (a white grape) vines. The white former mainstays of Marsala production cataratto and grillo are being given their head by winemakers who want them to shine alone and shine they do. Finally there has been a renaissance of interest in the intense, sweet muscat wines of the island of Pantelleria, an island closer to Tunisia than Sicily.

Sardinia, until 1708 a Spanish possession, grows several vines that reflect an Iberian heritage. Graciano and mazuelo grow here as bovale sardo and boval grande respectively. Cannonau is grenache/garnacha by another less Spanish name. The grape that the island has exported to other parts is vermentino from which its finest, aromatic and flavoursome whites are made. Mazuelo, better known as carignan, makes the islands best reds called carignano del Sulcis.
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A Mano

Founded in 1998, A Mano is owned and run by Mark Shannon and Elvezia (‘Elvie’) Sbalchiero, and is located in the Puglia region which makes up the heel of Italy’s boot. A Mano means ‘by hand’, and this is a fitting name for a property at which the wines are made with painstaking craftsmanship and passion.

Mark – a Californian – had been working as a ‘flying winemaker’ when he met Elvie, a wine marketer from the Friuli region in north-east Italy, in 1997. Mark went to Davis University – the very place where it was discovered that California’s zinfandel grape has the same DNA as Puglia’s primitivo – and so it is fitting that he ended up making wine in this part of Italy.

Mark and Elvie had only intended to visit Puglia as a holiday in 1998, but when they landed, they fell head-over-heels in love with the vineyards, and the light and colour of the region. Mark had been making wine since the early 1980s, and his experience clearly paid off, because the first vintage of A Mano won a gold medal at the IWC (International Wine Challenge) in London.

The vines, which are between 70 and 100 years old, are within Puglia’s ‘golden triangle’ of vineyards, and are planted on deep red alluvial soils that impart structure and complex character to the resultant wines. Mark and Elvie only grow native Italian grape varieties such as primitivo, greco and fiano, and cultivate all the vines by hand.

The winery is packed with the latest technology but Mark still tries to produce wines in a classic...
Founded in 1998, A Mano is owned and run by Mark Shannon and Elvezia (‘Elvie’) Sbalchiero, and is located in the Puglia region which makes up the heel of Italy’s boot. A Mano means ‘by hand’, and this is a fitting name for a property at which the wines are made with painstaking craftsmanship and passion.

Mark – a Californian – had been working as a ‘flying winemaker’ when he met Elvie, a wine marketer from the Friuli region in north-east Italy, in 1997. Mark went to Davis University – the very place where it was discovered that California’s zinfandel grape has the same DNA as Puglia’s primitivo – and so it is fitting that he ended up making wine in this part of Italy.

Mark and Elvie had only intended to visit Puglia as a holiday in 1998, but when they landed, they fell head-over-heels in love with the vineyards, and the light and colour of the region. Mark had been making wine since the early 1980s, and his experience clearly paid off, because the first vintage of A Mano won a gold medal at the IWC (International Wine Challenge) in London.

The vines, which are between 70 and 100 years old, are within Puglia’s ‘golden triangle’ of vineyards, and are planted on deep red alluvial soils that impart structure and complex character to the resultant wines. Mark and Elvie only grow native Italian grape varieties such as primitivo, greco and fiano, and cultivate all the vines by hand.

The winery is packed with the latest technology but Mark still tries to produce wines in a classic Puglian style. The aim is to respect the terroir of the region they hold so dear, and only to preserve the character the vineyard gives the grapes, and so Mark always ferments at cool temperatures to retain the grapes’ natural fruitiness. Mark and Elvie drink their wine almost every day, and like to create wines at prices that will make them accessible to most people.
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2019 vintage reviews
2013 vintage reviews

The Daily Telegraph

… unoaked and dry, and showcases the vibrant, brambly fruit of the grape – it’s lovely.

- Victoria Moore

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