Cathal McBride on wine: bringing modern primitivo to heel

Mark Shannon and Elvezia Sbalchiero of the A Mano winery have almost single-handedly restored variety’s reputation

Mark Shannon and Elvezia Sbalchiero at their A Mano winery in Puglia, Italy. They have played a huge role in reinvigorating Primitivo as a variety

Puglia is Italy’s “heel of the boot”, encompassing a large geographical area. This region has a long-held reputation for rich, fruity punchy reds that knock your socks off. But there’s often a subtler approach to winemaking here too, including modern primitivos, beautifully balanced whites and Italy’s only DOCG rosé.

While holidaying in Sicily in 1997, Californian winemaker Mark Shannon met his future partner, Elvezia Sbalchiero. Having an interest in primitivo from his experience of Zinfandel, ...