||Luccarelli wines are crafted in a large, ultra-modern facility called Terre di Sava, in the village of Sava, which is a stone’s throw from the town of Manduria - the heart of the Primitivo di Manduria zone. Just down the road is Salice Salentino, then the more major city of Lecce. Puglia is 350 km long; exceedingly warm in the summer time, it is the “heel” of the boot that is Italy. In the area of Manduria, Primitivo reigns while in Salice Salentino the main grape is Negroamaro, said to have dominated the Salice vineyard since the 6th Century BC. Luccarelli - and it’s mid-tier range Ampelo - come from the Terre di Sava winery which sources grapes from hundreds of local growers.
The ancient vines are tended by farmer-owners and average 80 years old, planted in the iron-rich Terrarossa soils with calcareous bedrock, and trained in the traditional Albarello. In fact many of those growers are as old as their vineyards and the winery has gradually been purchasing the best plots from these old farmers, in order to maintain their investment in the land and ensure the source of their best fruit. Vines this old don’t need to worry about hot, dry summers - the extensive root structure penetrates far enough down that the vines can ripen during the summer without experiencing water-stress.
True to form, the Gran Sasso partners have joined forces with the local growers and have changed the paradigm - instead of paying for quantity, as in the past, the growers are paid solely for quality, with incentives to reduce yields and assistance from the resident viticulturist to produce the best possible fruit. These naturally low yielding old vines are hand harvested and farmed sustainably.
This is a truly lucky land - sustainable viticulture is simple to maintain in this arid environment. Here, even more than in Abruzzo, the formula of working with a large number of growers who can finish a hand-harvest quickly pays dividends, as the heat of Puglia can easily produce fruit that is stewed, roasted, and out of balance. Picking at the optimal moment is critical to producing balanced wines.