If I had to drink wine from one country for the rest of my life that country would be Italy. No question. I would never be bored and rarely disappointed. From the racy mountain whites of Alto Adige in the north to the complex reds grown on the volcanic soils of Mount Etna in Sicily all vinous life is there.
And in the same way that Italy’s food changes with every mile you travel, so do the grape varieties. No other country on earth has a fraction of the number.
Mark Shannon is a Californian who came to Puglia in Southern Italy for one vintage over twenty years ago and never left. For fifteen years he and his partner Elvesia (one of the reasons he never went home) have been buying the best local grapes in the Salento peninsula and making bright, instantly appealing wines that show off all the fruit character of those grapes.
His Rosato in 2015 is an 80:20 blend of Primitivo and Aleatico. Primitivo is a full-flavoured red grape, so to make a light and fruity rosé Mark crushes the grapes fast. Contact with the skins is measured in seconds, not minutes, and the juice is whisked away into chilled tanks for a slow fermentation that keeps every fleck and nuance of flavour and aroma intact.
The colour is a pretty, pale pink you can’t help smiling at. First impressions are not wrong. Aromas of exotic summer fruits flood out of the glass, followed by rich citrus and smooth peachy flavours with a touch of blackcurrant from the Primitivo. It’s an immediately enjoyable wine which, with time in the glass, delivers wave after wave of developing flavours. If you can wait that long!
Mark and Elvesia make different wines from different blends every year, but you will often find one on our wine list. Though the blends may vary, their drive to make beautiful wines for everyday drinking by their friends at home and abroad never does.