As a tribute to the bountiful nature of the land, Pietro Ribezzo chose to name his estate after noble philanthropist Pirro Varone who made a major contribution to the region. Employing the ancient traditions of Salento, Pietro grows 15 hectares of vines and olive groves.
The property is set in the village of Surani in Manduria, opposite the Tyrrhenian Sea, in the Puglia region. This is one of Italy’s finest terroirs for producing the Primitivo grape variety, but the native varietals Negroamaro and Malvasia and the white grape Minutolo – similar to Fiano – are also grown here. The range comprises twelve different wines which reflect the estate’s attention to detail and research.
The Primitivo grape variety is enjoying renewed international interest due to Californian Zinfandel – its ‘next of kin’ – but here, completely different characters are sought, namely expressiveness, complexity and elegance. The wines are certified organic and utmost attention is lavished on each phase of production from the vineyard to the winery – yields are low, grapes are picked by hand and individually selected and winemaking techniques are designed to preserve sense of place, without oak intervention.
Bearing acreage is divided between old, bush-trained vines and the Cordon de Royat trellis system, and there are two distinctive soil types. The first is shallow and well-structured and was formed by erosion of the limestone rock, with low nitrogen content but balanced organic matter. It is reddish in colour due to potassium and iron and offers good drainage and coolness at root level. The second soil type is deep alluvium layered over clay and tufa. It is rich in organic matter, hence its dark, almost black colour stemming from the lengthy decomposition process of plant material. These complementary soils produce wines with good acidity, structure and balance.
The following wines selected for our guides are well worth discovering:
Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale : 2012 Pirro Varone Tocy