In a nutshell: A concentrated, dark, full-bodied red from the Puglian heel of Italy.
The lowdown: This red is Mark Shannon & Elvezia Sbalchiero's real labour of love, Primitivo is a grape for which they have a real passion. The vines used are old, between 70 and 100 years, with low yields making for great concentration. The wine is deep red in colour. And on the nose, there are intense aromas of ripe dark fruit, especially blackberries and cherries, with spicy notes of cocoa, lavender and liquorice. The palate is youthful and full-bodied, with a great concentration of ripe and rounded fruit.
When to drink: Altogether a very elegant, fresh and complex Primitivo.
Californian Mark Shannon and his partner Elvezia Sbalchiero originally from northern Italy fell in love with the Primitivo grape found in the Puglian heel of Italy in the late 1990s and subsequently set about making their mark using what was, at the time, a somewhat neglected variety. They've since succeeded in making Primitivo one of Italy's most talked about grape varieties. They are based in the ancient Puglian town of Noci.
They don't have extensive vineyards of their own but by focussing solely on quality, a modern winemaking style and by being prepared to pay top prices for the best old vine grapes, they have revolutionised the style and quality of Primitivo. Part of the reason for the continued success of A Mano is the knowledge that Mark and Elvezia have after 18 vintages (the first was as a consultant for another company) in the region. Not only are they getting access to the region's best grapes, but also their growers have 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. The quality of the grapes shines through in the resulting wines.