The Pichierri family are heroes, legends, and a living part of the history of Pugliese winemaking.
Savese Primitivo is the model of traditional wine-making around the zone of Manduria and has been for 40 years.
Perhaps a visit is required to fully understand the ethos behind the business, but it is probably enough to know that it is all about Primitivo di Sava.
Ignore the DOC / IGT titles because Sava has its own character.
The vineyards surround and even eat into the town, Sava is no tourist attraction.
The best Primitivos are grown on red clays that give a certain mineral character to the wines and this is where Savese’s best wines are born.
Each wine has a real terroir feel that the winery does nothing to tame. The old Primitivo vines are grown as bushes, whilst the new vineyards are espalier.
Every one of the vines is grafted by hand in the vineyard by Vittorio Pichierri or one of his workers, this is the old way and it is extremely rare.
The pedigree and quality of these vineyards is without peer.
The family has also kept faith with the less fashionable traditional wines of Manduria, namely the ‘dolce naturale’ (naturally sweet) reds.
These are made by drying the grapes on the vines which catapults the already high sugar levels to 19% plus.
For me though, the classic wine of the farm is ‘Terrarossa’; a fantastically expressive Primitivo from the red clays of Sava, it is somehow more than wine, it is the product of history and beliefs of a family and the result makes most of its American cousin, Zinfandel, taste like ribena.