The apulian sun takes care of the Primitivo grapes like a benevolent father, leading them to ripen very early in August. The Attanasio family, strong with 70 years history, wisely waits until the grapes are in the best condition, and are able to create a truly unique wine with extraordinary concentration and taste. All of their wines are made with care and devotion to the taste that Attanasio believes that Primitivo must have.
“We produce an authentic and balanced wine”
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your winery?
I am Alessandro Attanasio and I am the owner of Attanasio Giuseppe azienda agricola.
Our winery lies in the heart of Manduria city, the cradle of Primitivo. The modern winery was founded in 2000 by Attanasio Giuseppe, my father, and was built into an ancient building from the late 19th century. My family is now in the fourth generation of winemakers, as my grandfather used to produce bulk primitivo wine, sold to French and northern Italian wineries to be blended to their local wines and increase structure and alcohol. The team now counts 5 people and we are all involved in the production of the wine and vineyard work. Our vines are planted with the traditional alberello method, with the vine forcing itself to stand and get the shape of a small tree. Most of the vines are between 40 to 60 years old.
How do you normally enjoy drinking wine? (e.g. the setting, how often, who with)
I open the bottle around an hour before I enjoy it. I drink a glass of wine at lunch and at dinner usually with meat or cheese and with my friends. For my Rosato, I like to drink it with fish carpaccio.
Where is your winery located and what are the unique features of wines from your geographical location?
My winery is in the middle of the town and located in a building that used to produce olive oil. That olive oil was used to fuel lamps, before electricity and modern light bulbs were invented. Fortunately we still preserve the traditional use of this building with our winemaking facilities. Wines from Manduria have the distinct fruitiness and roundness that makes them quite different from Primitivo from other areas. Since Primitivo does ripen very early, starting from mid-august, we often harvest grapes that are naturally drying on the plant, ensuring great concentration of flavours, with slightly sweet notes and good acidity.
How does local history and culture influence your lifestyle and winemaking?
Well, being born here means that I drink Primitivo, and we drink Primitivo because it is great! My ancestors selected this grape and kept cultivating it for a long time for a good reason, and I’m honored to keep the tradition alive.
What is your best memory of winemaking, so far?
Was the 2006 vintage. The quality of the wine was the best so far and was the last one with my father.
Can you tell us about the first wine you ever made?
We made our first wine in 2000, and it was our dry Primitivo. We started the production in 15000 bottles and it had a great reception due to its unique features.
Tell us what wine represents for you?
For me wine is like a nice song that you listen to and lingers in memory for a long time. It is also something that must be shared and enjoyed with others.
What do you think about the future of sustainable winemaking?
We do a lot in both the vineyard and the cellar to keep our wines sustainable and natural.
Due to the climate change, we do suffer from sudden and heavy thunderstorms during the spring. That often leads to vines' being directly damaged, but also to some humidity and fog that favours mold and plant diseases, thus it is hard for us to restrain from pesticides and other helpful means to preserve our grapes.
I do believe that tradition is important, but our ancestors found their ways to solve problems with the means available at their times and I believe we should do the same, especially given the impressive technological progress. For example, to stabilize the bacteria levels of our wines, I use a very innovative (and expensive!) fungi that substitutes the need of adding sulfites, helping us to keep their value low and make a healthier and more enjoyable wine.