- Puglia, Italy
In the southernmost part of the heel of the "Italian boot", otherwise known as the Salento Peninsula of the Puglia region, the Perrini family has been growing grapes and making wine for generations. For many years, most of their fruit was sold off to négociants, as the means and finances to estate-bottle were prohibitive. Current generation Vito and his sister Mila Perrini set about changing that in the 1990's, building an underground cellar and converting their fifty hectares to certified-organic viticulture--neither of these steps being the norm for a bulk-production-oriented region accustomed to heavy-handed, high-alcohol red wines. Their vines average 30-35 years of age at this point, spread amongst several zones in the hills around Castellaneta near Taranto on a mix of sand, limestone and clay soils. The vineyards are plowed in the spring, and yields are kept to around 55hl/ha, modest for the region and the warm, easy-ripening climate. Most unusual for Puglia are an underground cellar; manual harvest; and natural yeast fermentation. Perrini wines are remarkably balanced, light-handed and savory compared to the usual Puglian fare, especially at their very modest price level.