Grapes Susumaniello and Negroamaro
Soft spice and deeply flavoured dark fruit, rich elemental style with mouth-filling big soft tannins
Susumaniello is rarity from Puglia, the name ‘load the donkey’ is hardly auspicious, the young vines are generous croppers, though this falls off as they age. It is a little documented grape type, undoubtably it has excellent colour, small berries and large pips that ripen unusually well. There are few single varietal wines, the greatest potential is probably as part of a blends.
Sampietrana have gone down this route and opted for an extreme style: the grapes were picked two weeks late, the yields were tiny, in fact the only way to make this wine possible was to use vineyards owned by the families of the Director and Sales Director, other members would have taken this loss of income very badly. Both the Negro Amaro and Susumaniello are from old vineyards on a mixture of clay and chalk, trained using a traditional ‘alberobello’ or ‘bush-vine’ system, which is excellent for quality winemaking but it means every aspect of the vineyard work must be by hand.
The grapes are crushed and fermented in lined concrete tanks, temperature control units can be dropped in from above the tanks and from the same position it is possible to submerge the cap manually.
The wine is ageing in tonneaux, mainly two or three years old, for between six and eight months.
Massive, soft, spicy fruit, very nicely balanced, with a fine purity and floral character.