After many years of experience in the wine industry in Montepulciano, in Tuscany, the Falvo family acquired 51 hectares on the Salento peninsula, the ‘heel of Italy’, 30 minutes from the beautiful city of Lecce. Masseria Li Veli was renovated at the end of the 19th century by a famous Italian economist, the Marquis Antonio de Viti de Marco, who wanted to turn it into a model cellar for the region. In the history of Puglia, a masseria was a fortified farmhouse — a complex of buildings including the landowner’s dwellings, farmers’ houses, stables and barns. This impressive property now covers over 350,000 sqft.
The climate is ideal for growing grapes: mild dry winter and hot dry summers, cooled by low night temperatures and sea breezes, helping maintain freshness and acidity. The 36 hectares are mainly planted with native grape varieties such as Negroamaro, Primitivo, Susumaniello, Fiano and Verdeca. Additionally, due to a specific pruning system, the work in the vineyard is all done manually. Since 2005, the vineyards are organically farmed.
“It’s about trying to bring a classic style to the wine, but keeping traditions,” says Edoardo Falvo of Masseria Li Veli. Controlling Puglia’s naturally vigorous vineyards can be a challenge, and even with vineyard management and selection yields at Masseria Li Veli are about 50 percent higher than the levels the Falvos were accustomed to in Tuscany. But Falvo cites precision in the winery as the key to finding the balance they seek. “It’s not about making it modern, but about showing local grapes in a clean, elegant way.” – Alison Napjus, Wine Spectator, Oct 2015