Varvaglione 12 e Mezzo Primitivo del Salento 2020
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Varvaglione is a family-run winery just outside the town of Taranto, Puglia, located at the heel of the “boot” by the Ionian Sea. The winery is located in the DOP region of Manduria – known for producing the highest quality Primitivo (aka Zinfandel) wines. The winery history goes back four generations, founded in 1921. Varvaglione’s innovative winemaking technology and branding continuously evolves, while keeping an eye on the trends and tastes of the market, yet never losing sight of their traditions and unique terroir.
Truly a family business, Cosimo Varvaglione, the father, is CEO and in charge of wine production. Maria Teresa, their mom, is Administrative Director and also President of MTV (Movement of Tourism Wine for Puglia). Their three children, all in their late 20’s/early 30’s, are the new generation bringing a fresh and young look to their wines. The oldest daughter, Marzia, is the company's USA Export Manager and Marketing Director. Her sister Francesca, Assistant Winemaker, is studying enology and will eventually take over wine-making from her dad, while their brother Angelo is the Export Director for Asia-Pacific.
Varvaglione’s newest wine range, 12 e Mezzo, (12 ½) focusing on lower alcohol, uses eye-catching labels for their “fashion” line up. Papale, their Old Vine Primitivo represents the more traditional Puglian wines. With the bright and fresh flavors of the 12 e Mezzo wines and the more classic style of Papale, the Varvaglione family is embracing old world values with a modern twist, offering wines for every palate!
Well-suited to the production of concentrated, fruity and spicy red varieties, Puglia is one of Italy’s warmest, most southerly regions. Its entire eastern side is one long coastline bordering the Adriatic Sea. About half way down, the region becomes the Salento Peninsula. This peninsula, bordered by water on three sides, receives moist, nighttime, sea breezes that bring a welcome cooling effect to the region, where little rain creates a challenging environment for its vines. In fact, the region is named for the Italian expression, “a pluvia,” meaning “lack of rain.”
Puglia’s Mediterranean climate and iron-rich, calcareous soils support the indigenous Primitivo, Negroamaro and Nero di Troia. Primitivo produces an inky, spicy, brambly and ripe red wine whose best expression comes from Manduria. Nero di Troia produces tannic, rustic reds from Castel del Monte DOC while Negroamaro, typically blended with Malvasia nera, plays a large part in may blends made throughout the peninsula.
Puglia produces a small amount of white wines as well, predominantly made of the fruity, Trebbiano Toscano, or light, Bombino bianco grapes.
Loved for its inky, brambly, fruit-driven wines, the Primitivo grape actually has Croatian origin. Primitivo landed in Italy in the late 1800s and became an important variety in the hot, dry, southern region of Puglia. Here it was named from the Latin word, primativus, meaning "first to ripen." Somm Secret—No one knew Primitivo and Zinfandel were the same until 1994 when DNA profiling at UC Davis finally revealed the link. The grape goes by the name of Tribidrag in Croatia and is a parent to Plavac Mali.