A. Mano Puglia Primitivo 2002
Called AMano ("hand-made"), and entirely hand-crafted from indigenous Primitivo grapes (the original source of Zinfandel, by the way...), this fruit-packed, food-friendly red expresses the region's quality potential, and the reasons for Mark's Apulian connection. These are best told by Mark himself: "Apulia (or Puglia, as it is known in Italian) is so easy to fall in love with: old, head-trained vineyards, a history of grape-growing in harmony with nature. Everything necessary for top-quality wines. I was compelled to stay. I have not seen another region of the world where the quality potential is so high.
After so many years of technical wine-making, I had almost forgotten that the right way to make wine is with love. In fact, Puglia reminded me this is the way to do everything."
While picturesque hillsides, endless coastlines and a favorable climate serve to unify the grape-growing culture of this country. The apparent never-ending world of indigenous grape varieties gives Italy an unexampled charm and allure. From the steep inclines of the Alps to the sprawling, warm, coastal plains of the south, red grape varieties thrive throughout.
The kings of Italy, wines like Barolo and Barbaresco (made of Nebbiolo), and Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino (made of Sangiovese), as well as Amarone (mostly Corvina), play center stage for the most lauded, collected and cellar-worthy reds. Less popular but entirely deserving of as much praise are the wines made from Aglianico, Sagrantino and Nerello Mascalese.
For those accustomed to drinking New World reds, the south is the place to start. Grapes like Negroamaro or Primitvo from Puglia and Nero d’Avola from Sicily make soft, ammicable, full-bodied, fruit-dominant wines. Curious palates should be on the lookout for Cannonau, Lagrein, Teroldego, Ruché, Freisa, Cesanese, Schiopettino, Rossese and Gaglioppo to name a few.