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LI VELI

PUGLIA



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ABOUT THE WINERY

Puglia has a long agrarian history, thanks to its relatively high proportion of flat or rolling terrain suitable for growing crops. For many centuries, Puglia’s agriculture was dominated by extensive land grants from the ruling nobility. Known as latifundi, these holdings were the equivalent of plantations or haciendas in other countries, often controlled by absentee landowners and worked by local peasants and sharecroppers. Beginning in the 16th century in Puglia, many of these latifundi began to build structures known as masserie. The masseria was sort of a cross between a castle and a farmhouse and was designed to improve the life of the farmworkers. It was typically a large stone building located in or near the fields of the latifundo with room for the managers and many of the farmworkers to sleep and for storage of equipment and harvests. It was also intended to be strong enough to protect the inhabitants from raids by pirates, bandits, and marauding soldiers. 

The latifundi began to be broken up during the period of Napoleonic rule in Italy at the end of the 1700s and early 1800s, and the essentially feudal system that they represented was outlawed in 1950. By that time, most of the masserias had fallen into disrepair. One such ruin was Masseria Li Veli, located near the center of the Salento Peninsula in southern Puglia, on the southern slopes of the Murgia plateau. Many masserias have been reconstructed as residences or agritourism accommodations beginning in the 1970s, but this particular one was rebuilt much earlier for a different purpose. 

The crumbling Masseria Li Veli was acquired in the late 19th century by Marchese Antonio de Viti de Marco (1858–1943), an important economist and professor who was influential in the theory of public finance in the Kingdom of Italy. In 1895, the masseria was restored to serve as a model wine cellar, demonstrating an ambitious concept for economic development for all of southern Italy. It stayed in operation until the 1950s. 

The masseria is once again functioning as an important winemaking facility, having been renovated and modernized into an up-to-date production center for the Li Veli wines. The Falvo family, former owners of the Avignonesi winery in Tuscany but with Puglian roots, purchased the masseria and its 128 acres of land in 1999 and breathed new life into de Viti de Marco’s project. The vision is to establish a new quality benchmark in the region, through both vineyard management and vinification.

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WINERY LOCATION: Cellino San Marco (Brindisi province), Puglia
WINE REGIONS: Salice Salentino DOC, IGT Puglia, IGT Salento, IGT Valle d’itria
VINEYARD LAND: 82 acres (33 ha)
FARMING PRACTICES: Sustainable
GRAPE VARIETIES: Negroamaro, Primitivo, Susumaniello, Malvasia Neri di Lecce, Aleatico, Cabernet Sauvignon, Verdeca and Minutolo
WINE STYLES: Dry red; dry rosato; dry white; sweet dessert
TOTAL WINE PRODUCTION: 350,000 bottles (260,000 liters)
YEAR FOUNDED: 1999
OWNER(S): The Falvo family
WINEMAKER(S): Riccardo Cotarella

WINES

LI VELI FIANO PUGLIA IGT

Fiano is a grape variety typically associated with Campania on the other side of the Apennines from Puglia, but Puglia’s plantings of Fiano have been increasing, and the variety seems well suited to this region. Li Veli makes this Fiano as one of its two white-wine offerings.

LI VELI “PRIMEROSE” NEGROAMARO ROSATO SALENTO IGT

The Salento area and its leading grape variety Negroamaro are recognized as producing some of Italy’s best rosato (pink) wines. Li Veli Primerose is a great example of this hearty style of rosé wine.

LI VELI “ORION” PRIMITIVO SALENTO IGT

While Li Veli focuses much of its attention on Negroamaro, Orion is dedicated to the other important grape variety of the Salento Peninsula: Primitivo. The Italian alter ego of Croatia’s Tribidrag and California’s Zinfandel, Primitivo has been grown in Puglia for centuries and is gaining newfound recognition in Italy. The wine’s name, Orion, is not related to the constellation, but rather to an ancient wall. Orion means “limit” or “boundary” in Greek, and a wall that once served as the boundary of Salento when this was a Greek colony is today a country road that runs alongside Li Veli’s Primitivo vineyard.

LI VELI “PRIMONERO” NEGROAMARO SALENTO IGT

Salento peninsula has always been a great wine producing area of Italy and a land of crossing cultures. Primonero was born from the heart of this land with its most representative grape: Negroamaro, whose name emphasizes the dark colour of its fruit: niger from the Latin “black” and amauros from the Greek “dark”. In memory of Greeks and Romans, the two main cultures dominating and crossing each other in this region.

LI VELI “PASSAMANTE” SALICE SALENTINO DOC

Passamante is Li Veli’s entry Salice Salentino, the Negroamaro-based wine that defines the Salento Peninsula. Though no oak aging is required for non-riserva Salice Salentino wines, Li Veli gives Passamante 6 months in barriques to round out the wine and introduce additional complexity. Passamante is the name of the wooded area next to the vineyard.

LI VELI “ASKOS” VERDECA SALENTO IGT

Li Veli features little-known native grape varieties of Puglia in its Askos line. Verdeca is the white entry in this line. Not much Verdeca is grown in Puglia, and almost none outside the region, so it’s exciting to see a varietal Verdeca wine like this one from Li Veli. Askos is a Greek word for a type of wine container, harkening back to the pre-Roman days when the Ancient Greeks colonized Puglia and produced wine here—perhaps from Verdeca.

LI VELI “ASKOS” SUSUMANIELLO ROSATO SALENTO IGT

Li Veli features little-known native grape varieties of Puglia in its Askos line. With just 125 acres (50 ha) in all of Italy, Susumaniello certainly fits in that category. Li Veli’s varietal Susumaniellos are a rare opportunity to taste this ancient grape variety that is just starting to garner attention. This wine is a pink version, essentially a white wine made with red Susumaniello grapes.

LI VELI “ASKOS” SUSUMANIELLO SALENTO IGT

Li Veli features little-known native grape varieties of Puglia in its Askos line. With just 125 acres (50 ha) in all of Italy, Susumaniello certainly fits in that category. Li Veli’s varietal Susumaniellos are a rare opportunity to taste this ancient grape variety that is just starting to garner attention.

LI VELI “ASKOS” MALVASIA NERA SALENTO IGT

Li Veli features lesser-known native grape varieties of Puglia in its Askos line. This wine is made from a member of the widespread Malvasia family, but from a red-skinned variety that is peculiar to Puglia. Malvasia Nera di Lecce, named after the city of Lecce in Puglia, is rarely found outside its native region. Even in Puglia, it is not often found as a varietal wine, because it is usually blended with Negroamaro. That makes the Li Veli Malvasia Nera a real treasure.

LI VELI “ASKOS” PRIMITIVO SALENTO IGT

Li Veli features native grape varieties of Puglia in its Askos line. Primitivo is now well known, but it remains in the shadow of Negroamaro and several other Italian grape varieties, so Li Veli includes it in this project.

LI VELI “PEZZO MORGANA” SALICE SALENTINO RISERVA DOC

Li Veli Pezzo Morgana is a single-vineyard Negroamaro from the Salice Salentino denomination. The vineyard is planted using the ancient Settonce system based on hexagonal distribution rather than rows. This wine is a riserva, which requires at least 2 years of aging, including 6 months or more in wood.

LI VELI “MASSERIA LI VELI” SALENTO IGT

Masseria Li Veli (or “MLV”) is Li Veli’s most prestigious wine. It is based on Primitivo and Negroamaro but takes a modern turn by adding a healthy proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon. The result is a particularly powerful and long-lived wine.

LOCATION


WINERY:
Cellino San Marco (Brindisi province), Puglia

VINEYARD:
Salento peninsula, Puglia

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