Leone de Castris 2019 “Villa Santera” Primitivo di Manduria

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Tasting notes
Very deep red in colour turning almost purplish. The nose reveals a rich perfume of plum, black cherry and also spices as ginger and vanilla. On the palate it is full bodied and velvety and well balanced with a hint of sweetness. Enjoy with grilled meats, baked pasta or pasta with hearty sauces, and ripe cheeses.

Why we recommend this wine
At the everyday end of the wines in Puglia we found we preferred Primitivo and this is a great example. You can read more about our trip to Puglia here.

The wine
Primitivo di Manduria became extremely common throughout the Salento area towards the end of the 1800s. Primitivo is a grape variety that originated in Gioia del Colle, in the province of Bari (a bit further North), but the best known variety is grown in the areas near Salento on clayey – muddy soils. This vines are 40 plus years old and the wine has at least 6 months in barrel and at least a further 3 months in the bottle before being released.

The wine estate
Leone de Castris is one of the top producers in Puglia and is the oldest winery in Puglia being established in 1665. Their large holdings are situated on lands with ancient vine growing and wine making tradition in Salento in Puglia. Salento is located on the “heel” of the boot of Italy. The Salento Peninsula gets more than its fair share of hot sunshine. Luckily the vineyards are well ventilated by the Mediterranean breezes that blow across the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. Although the vineyard operations of Leone de Castris are not certified as organic they ‘nurture nature’.

Food and wine
When in Puglia we found that Primitivo went with everything – antipasta, seafood, cold meats, cheeses, the lot! Also see our guide to pairing food and wine here.

Did you know?
Before the days of wine regulation, the wines of Puglia used to be sent North to Piedmont and other areas nearby to be blended with their local varieties to give them punch and body. Nowadays they can’t do that so Puglian wines have come into their own with skilled winemakers.