The name of this grape is a reference to its early maturation, at the end of August or the beginning of September.
These grapes are grown bush trained, and also trellis trained, in the Taranto area, on the Salento peninsula and around Gioia del Colle, near Bari.
This varietal is of uncertain origin: it may have come to Salento from Dalmatia or Illyria 4000 years ago with the Phoenicians who emigrated from what is now Syria and Lebanon.
Recent studies have demonstrated a genetic relationship between Primitivo, Californian Zinfan and Crijenac of Croatia; it seems all three came from the same source in the eastern Mediterranean.
Primitivo grows well in soil characterised by tufaceous calcareous soil, over a bed of clay, and in reddish soils containing ferrous compounds.
It produces full-bodied, concentrated wines rich in extracts, and in particularly well-ventilated areas exposed to temperature excursions, it can produce wines with a strong bouquet and a persistent aromatic spectrum.
The name comes from the dialect word “niuru maru”, meaning “doubly black”, from the Latin niger and the ancient Greek mavros (giving origin to the dialect word maru), a reference to the characteristic black colour of the grape and the typically bitter flavour of the wine it makes. It is very common in Puglia, especially in the provinces of Lecce, Brindisi and Taranto.
The varietal has very ancient origins, for it would seem to have been imported to the Salento area by the Greeks more than 2000 years ago, though we do not find the name used until the 19th century.
The grape is grown all along the Ionic coast in the Lecce and Brindisi areas and in the province of Taranto. The grape normally matures in late September or early October. It adapts to different types of soil easily but prefers calcareous/clayey soils and warm climates, even if dry. It is normally grown bush trained or on an overhead trellis, and may be long or short pruned.
It is often blended with Malvasia nera from the Brindisi area, and also used alone.
A white grape with ancient roots, dating back to Roman days; it is also referred to as Latino to distinguish it from varietals of Greek origin. Originally from southern Italy, it is probably named after the Apianae grapes mentioned by Columella and Pliny, very sweet grapes thus named for their ability to attract bees. The first grapes of this type originated in Lapio, a place near Avellino named after the grape, where Fiano is still made. The grape produces a robust wine with a fine aroma.
At one time it was used to make a sweet, slightly fizzy wine, but Fiano is now an intense, elegant, structured dry white wine well suited to ageing.
A white grape very common in Central Italy. Its popularity is also due to its great productivity and good resistance to disease. It is also grown in France, under the name Ugni Blanc or Saint-Emilion, to make Cognac and Armagnac, while in Spain it is used to make brandy. In Italy it gives excellent results for making Vin Santo, after drying the grapes on grids, often with the support of aromatic Malvasia.