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  Wine Producers Issue 17, March 2004   
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Accademia dei Racemi

Originated by an ambitious project of revaluating the local Apulian grapes, the dynamic winery Accademia dei Racemi has contributed in few years to change the enological scene of Apulia

 Accademia dei Racemi was established in 1998 by Gregory Perrucci and his wife Elisabetta Gorla in the aim of revaluating the enological heritage of Apulia and in particular the local grapes that, at those times, seemed to be destined to the production of “bulk wines” only. Accademia dei Racemi is an organization which groups passionate viticulturists, agronomists and wine makers with the goal of promoting the production of quality wines made in Apulia. Among the duties there is also the one of selecting the most interesting and promising sites and vineyards of the region, involving their proprietors in this project while assisting them in the viticultural and wine making practices by offering the help of qualified wine makers and technicians. The work of Accademia dei Racemi is particularly focused on the local varieties, among them Primitivo, Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera, as well as less known varieties such as Susumaniello and Ottavianello, a variety known in France as Cinsaut.

 In just five years Accademia dei Racemi has significantly contributed to the revaluation of the enological dignity of Apulia - a region with one of the most ancient enological traditions of Italy - and thanks to specific researches and remarkable efforts, it contributed to the revaluation of local varieties, including the now famous Primitivo. Ten years ago or so, Primitivo was simply cultivated with the purpose of producing bulk wines to be destined to other Italian and European regions, and this seemed to be its inexorable and unjust destiny. The initial goal of Accademia dei Racemi was to revaluate this grape, a goal that is now fully accomplished. The will of promoting Primitivo to the levels it certainly deserved was the reason of a research done by a group of experts who initially had to face a reality that was capable of making neutral and alcoholic wines only, that is products that could be easily sold as bulk wines.


A view of the cellars
A view of the cellars

 Today the wineries represented by Accademia dei Racemi are Pervini, Sinfarosa, Tenute Pozzopalo, Felline, Masseria Pepe and Casale Bevagna, wineries which offer a very good selection of wines made of Primitivo. The history of this grape is rather interesting and the researches done have finally allowed to clear the doubts about this powerful red grape seemed to conceal in every berry. The case “Primitivo” began to catch the attention of wine lovers and producers when it was discovered it was genetically equal to Zinfandel, a red berried grape very common in California. The paradox was that in California were produced wines with Zinfandel that were considered of high quality, whereas Primitivo was simply considered as a grape suited for the production of bulk wines. Aware of the potentialities of Primitivo, both because of historical and local traditions and because of the confirmation provided by Zinfandel, Accademia dei Racemi was convinced more than ever to the revaluation of this grape.

 Further researches have proved that both Primitivo and Zinfandel are grapes of Croatian origin and are genetically equal to Plavac Mali. Researches have also discovered that all these grapes derive from a unique progenitor, Zagarese, originating from the Balkans and probably introduced in Apulia at the end of the seventeenth century by some Slav people migrated to the region. Convinced of the potentialities of Primitivo and of its enological tradition in the Apulian territory, Accademia dei Racemi started a project also thanks to the help of a team of experts and collaborators, each one of them determined to accomplish the goal of revaluating and giving back the right dignity to Primitivo. In the rooms of the Cooperative Cellar was created a research and micro-vinification laboratory in order to study and evaluate the characteristics of the many crus of Primitivo di Manduria, also thanks to the contributions of producers who conferred Accademia dei Racemi a small part of their vineyards. This practice became an important aspect of Accademia dei Racemi, where the management of the vineyard and of cellaring practices is done by qualified personnel who select the best grapes and terroirs in order to obtain a quality wine production.


 

 The research on Primitivo, based on a meticulous zonation, gave birth to Felline (vineyards cultivated in red soils), Sinfarosa (black soils) and Dunico (sand). The production of the many Primitivos is based on historical witnesses of Manduria, the Apulian town where Primitivo is mainly common, which emphasized the differences among the wines produced in vineyards near the sea, in black soils and in red soils. The precious scientific activity and the researches done by Accademia dei Racemi on Primitivo, and in particular on its connections with Zinfandel, has allowed the Mandurian winery to reach truly prestigious goals. Accademia dei Racemi is the only non American winery that was admitted to ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers), an association that every year organizes a prestigious tasting at San Francisco and which is attended by all Zinfandel lovers of America.

 Primitivo is not the only grape that interests Accademia dei Racemi. In the province of Lecce have been individuated particular vineyards of Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera from which has been produced the renowned wine Te Deum Laudamus. In the province of Brindisi, near Torre Guaceto, has been planted a 10 hectares vineyards (about 25 acres) of Ottavianello, an almost extinct grape in Apulia and known in France and elsewhere as Cinsaut, as well as valuable Apulian autochthonous varieties, such as the interesting Susumaniello. The remarkable and precious activity of Accademia dei Racemi for the revaluation of the heritage of grapes and wines of Apulia also includes the production of Aglianico and the excellent Moscato Reale di Trani. In the aim of promoting the culture and the spreading of Apulian wine, Accademia dei Racemi has also started at Mesagne, in the province of Brindisi, a wine shop where it is possible to appreciate and know the richness and the historical enological heritage of the region. Today Accademia dei Racemi has 120 hectares of vineyards (about 300 acres) in the Salento area (Manduria, Brindisi and Cellino San Marco) and its work of revaluating the historical memory of a rich land such as Apulia has been successfully accomplished. The result achieved by Accademia dei Racemi, made of research, determination and respect for its land, is worthily represented by the quality of its wines, while proving that intelligence and the correct use of resources, even of those grapes once considered “modest and humble” are instead capable of giving intense emotions and valuable wines.

 




Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Good value wine Good value wine
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought




89
Primitivo di Manduria Pervini 2002
Accademia dei Racemi (Italy)
Grapes: Primitivo
Price: € 5,60 Score:
This wine shows a brilliant ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, moderate transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean and pleasing aromas that start with hints of black cherry and blueberry followed by aromas of raspberry, plum, violet and cyclamen. In the mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a slightly tannic attack and however balanced, good body, intense flavors, good tannins. The finish is persistent with flavors of black cherry and blueberry. Part of this wine ages in cask for at least 6 months.
Food Match: Pasta with meat and mushrooms, Sauteed meat with mushrooms, Roasted meat



Primitivo Sinfarosa 2002, Accademia dei Racemi (Italy)
Primitivo Sinfarosa 2002
Accademia dei Racemi (Italy)
Grapes: Primitivo
Price: € 6,00 Score:
This wine shows a brilliant ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, moderate transparency. The nose denotes intense, clean and pleasing aromas that start with hints of black cherry and blueberry followed by aromas of cherry, raspberry, plum and violet. In the mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a slightly tannic attack and however balanced, good body, intense flavors, good tannins. The finish is persistent with flavors of plum and black cherry. This Primitivo ages in steel tanks.
Food Match: Broiled meat and barbecue, Roasted meat, Hard cheese



Primitivo di Manduria Archidamo Pervini 2002, Accademia dei Racemi (Italy)
Primitivo di Manduria Archidamo Pervini 2002
Accademia dei Racemi (Italy)
Grapes: Primitivo
Price: € 5,80 Score:
The wine shows a brilliant ruby red color and nuances of purple red, moderate transparency. The nose denotes intense, clean and pleasing aromas that start with hints of raspberry and black cherry followed by aromas of blueberry, blackberry, cyclamen, plum and hints of vanilla. In the mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a slightly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, good tannins. The finish is persistent with flavors of black cherry and blueberry. Part of this wine is aged for at least 6 months in cask.
Food Match: Roasted meat, Broiled meat and barbecue, Stewed meat, Hard cheese



Primitivo di Manduria Felline 2002, Accademia dei Racemi (Italy)
Primitivo di Manduria Felline 2002
Accademia dei Racemi (Italy)
Grapes: Primitivo
Price: € 7,90 Score:
The wine shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, refined and pleasing aromas which start with hints of black cherry and blackberry followed by aromas of blueberry, plum, violet, vanilla and pleasing hints of black pepper. In the mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a slightly tannic attack and however well balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, good tannins, very agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of black cherry and blueberry. This wine ages in barrique for at least 12 months.
Food Match: Roasted meat, Stewed meat, Broiled meat and barbecue, Hard cheese



Vigna del Feudo Felline 2002, Accademia dei Racemi (Italy)
Vigna del Feudo Felline 2002
Accademia dei Racemi (Italy)
Grapes: Primitivo (34%), Malvasia Nera (33%), Ottavianello (33%)
Price: € 12,30 Score:
This wine shows a brilliant ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, little transparency. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas that start with pleasing hints of strawberry jam and black cherry followed by aromas of raspberry, blackberry, cyclamen, plum and vanilla. In the mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a slightly tannic attack and however balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, good tannins, agreeable. The finish is persistent with good flavors of raspberry, blueberry and plum. Vigna del Feudo ages in cask for at least 14 months.
Food Match: Stuffed pasta with mushrooms, Stewed meat with mushrooms, Roasted meat



Primitivo di Manduria Zinfandel Sinfarosa 2002, Accademia dei Racemi (Italy)
Primitivo di Manduria Zinfandel Sinfarosa 2002
Accademia dei Racemi (Italy)
Grapes: Primitivo
Price: € 10,40 Score:
This wine shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, little transparency. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing and elegant aromas which start with hints of black cherry and plum followed by good aromas of blueberry, blackberry, violet, licorice, vanilla and hints of cocoa and black pepper. In the mouth has good correspondence to the nose, a slightly tannic attack and however well balanced by alcohol, good body, intense flavors, good tannins. The finish is persistent with pleasing flavors of black cherry, blueberry and plum. Part of this Primitivo ages in cask.
Food Match: Broiled meat and barbecue, Roasted meat, Strewed meat with mushrooms, Hard cheese



Accademia dei Racemi - Via Santo Stasi Primo - 74024 Manduria, Taranto (Italy) Tel. (+39) 99 9711660 Fax (+39) 99 9711530 - Winemaker: Cosimo Spina - Established: 1998 - Production: 1.200.000 bottles - E-Mail: accademia@accademiadeiracemi.it - WEB: www.accademiadeiracemi.it


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  Wine Producers Issue 17, March 2004   
Accademia dei RacemiAccademia dei Racemi Cellar JournalCellar Journal  Contents 
Issue 16, February 2004 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 18, April 2004

Cellar Journal


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