Mark Shannon and his partner Elvezia Sbalchiero have succeeded in making Primitivo one of Italy's most talked about grape varieties. By paying high prices for the best grapes (sourced from 70 to 100-year-old vines) and focussing solely on quality and a modern style, they have revolutionised the style and calibre of Primitivo.
Part of the reason for the continued success of A Mano is the knowledge that Mark and Elvezia have after 18 vintages in the region. Not only are they getting access to Salento's best grapes, but their growers have also come to realise that if they want the higher price paid by A Mano, they need to provide even better grapes than in previous years.
A rare wine made from 100% Susumaniello, an ancient grape from Salento traditionally used as a blending component. The name means "Little Donkey" the local dialect, referring to the vines being difficult to manage, almost stubborn.
The grapes are grown in vineyards located in the Salento peninsula of Puglia. A rare and ancient red Puglian variety, Susumaniello was used mostly as a blending component until a few years ago. The name means 'little donkey' in local dialect, from the enormous load the vines bear when young, although others say that it is so called because it is stubborn and difficult to manage! The sandy vineyards are high up on the hillside, dry farmed and are over 30 years old.
Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were sorted and cold fermented in stainless steel tanks. Pump-overs were very gentle so as not to over-extract the aggressive tannins of this unusual variety. There was no wood ageing. The wine was bottled without fining.
Deep inky purple-black in colour, this wine has intense aromas of blackberries, blueberries and chocolate supported by floral notes of violets, blossom and hints of Mediterranean herbs. This is a full bodied, well structured wine with powerful yet fine tannins. A fantastic freshness carries through the seamless finish.