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.
This wine is made from the Fiano Minutolo clone from Puglia, which resembles Riesling or Viognier, as opposed to the Fiano di Avellino which is used to make the DOC wines from Campania. The Fiano Minutolo vineyards are situated in Itria valley in the heart of Puglia. The valleys provide constant airflow from the Adriatic Sea to the warmer interior area.The fresh breezes lower the night time temperatures, encouraging the development of lovely perfumes in the grapes. Greco comes from a very old, non irrigated, sandy hillside vineyard.
Ripe grapes were pressed and fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for 10 weeks. A small portion of the Fiano grapes were dried until the end of October, after which they were pressed and the juice was blended into the wine at the very end of fermentation.
This wine is full of aromas of white peaches, ripe pears, nectarines and a touch of jasmine. It has racy acidity which lifts the ripe fruit. The body is full and satisfying with a fresh acidity and a light spritz from the cool, long fermentation.