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Terre di Sava “Luccarelli” Primitivo 2007


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    Sava is one of the so called Città del Vino (Wine Cities) of Puglia and this is where the wine company “Terre di Sava” (literally “The Land of Sava”) is based. A young wine producer (founded in just 2008), Terre di Sava’s vineyards sit across the border of the Primitivo di Manduria DOC area – the location of production for the highest awarded Primitivo varietal wines in Italy. Formed as a saviour for some of these ancient vineyards that were to feared likely to fall into ruin as a result of economic hardship, Terre di Sava is chaired by group of local wine lovers who wished to preserve Sava’s history as a winemaking city, as well as wishing to make wine of consistently high quality.

    Sitting within Puglia’s lowlands, a scant 100 metres above sea level and not far from the Ionian Sea itself, Terre di Sava’s vineyards dwell on clay based “terra rossa” (red land) which is soil infused with iron oxides. This give the landscape a distinctive red colour and wines grown within it a distinct flavour and character. Not far beneath the surface, Puglia’s calcareous rock base lurks. One the key factors in defining the flavours of Puglia’s wines, this rocky layer causes vines to struggle for moisture, imbuing intensity and richness into the Primitivo grapes grown there.

    A Primitivo specialist (Terre di Sava produces four different Primitivo wines) intensity and flavour is further added to the Primitivo vines by rigorous pruning over many years, which has generated gnarled “bush” vines that yield just a few bunches of opulently flavoured grapes each year, as opposed to many dilute flavoured fruits. Unusually, this Terre di Sava “Luccarelli” Primitivo (Terre di Sava’s entry level Primitivo) does not see oak aging, which should allow these intense fruit notes to shine, bright and young.

    Picked in the second and third weeks of August each year, the Primitivo grapes for this "Luccarelli" Primitivo are pressed and then matured for a period in stainless steel before release.

    For a reasonably priced wine, this “Luccarelli” Primitivo comes in an impressively sized bottle. A typically Puglian high shouldered shape that tapers to the base, it is much thicker and heavier than most Primitivo at this price level. A synthetic cork is not particularly aesthetically pleasing, although this is something that many more vineyards will need to resort to in the near future as a result of the rising cost of natural cork.

    In the glass, this Terre di Sava “Luccarelli” Primitivo is a bright and clear ruby colour with flashes of scarlet and violet. There is a moderate fade to bright violet (almost like a Malbec!) at the rim which shows this “Luccarelli” Primitivo’s time in steel and bottle. Alcohol and therefore the legs are limited for a Puglian Primitivo with this "Luccarelli" Primitivo weighing in at 13.5% in alcohol. Considering Primitivo’s naturally high sugar levels that tend to yield high alcohol levels this is relatively unusual.

    On the nose, moderately intense, but bright fruit leads with prickly young spice also present. Redcurrants, billberries and goji berries feature with a slightly richer note of prunes and figs spiked with star anise following up. There is no vanilla on the nose as this “Luccarelli” Primitivo has not spent time in oak, which lends the aromas of this "Luccarelli" Primitivo a brighter and fresher style that is not as heavy or oppressive as many Primitivo wines.

    In the mouth, this “Luccarelli” Primitivo is soft and approachable. Medium bodied red fruit in the form of raspeberries and redcurrants form the bulk of the flavour with an underlay of some darker sour damsons. There are no tannins (mouth drying chemicals from the grape skins) of note (likely a result of Primitivo’s naturally thin skins and a short pressing time for this "Luccarelli" Primitivo) but there is a good wash of acidity that draws out a little saliva around your gums and makes this "Luccarelli" Primitivo both very drinkable and in a way refreshing. Possibly a good candidate for light chilling before serving (30mins in a fridge), this would knock a little of the redcurrant bitterness off the tail of the flavour and would leave a smooth, fruity and enjoyable red – perfect for the Summer.

    Ultimately, this Terre di Sava “Luccarelli” Primitivo is not a outstanding wine. It is the vineyards entry level Primitivo offering and it would surprise no-one if the vineyards’ best grapes and effort made their way into Tere di Sava’s other wines. However, this “Luccarelli” Primitivo is a pleasantly surprising and an enjoyable, fresh and young quaffer that will please most people over on a summer’s day or casual dinner, so long as they aren’t expecting rich and oaky Primitivo di Manduria style flavours.

    Terre di Sava “Luccarelli” Primitivo (2007)

    Score: 77/100 – Ultimately simple but enjoyable

    Value for Money: 7/10 – Priced at a level that it’s simplicity is not a disappointment

    Posted by TheIndependentWineReview on September 23rd, 2011 at 11:27am | report comment

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