Primitivo Gioia del Colle

PRIMITIVO GIOIA DEL COLLE Geographically Gioia del Colle is a town in the province of Bari rising around the wonderful castle of Fredrick II of Swabia (1230). The cultivation of vineyards and the production of wine in the land of Gioia del Colle date back to the period between the 8th and the 3rd century b. C.. This is witnessed by the great number of containers used to contain wine, found in the archaeological region of Monte Sannace, the largest known urban centre few kilometres far from Gioia del Colle. However, only at the end of 1700 the abbot Francesco Saverio Indellicati selected an early grape that he named “PrimAtivo” (from the Italian word “early”) exactly for this reason. Although the most favourable conditions for growing this generous grape were only to be found in Gioia del Colle, it soon became subject to intensive cultivation in a much wider area of Puglia thanks to the Benedectine Monks themselves. Later, in the late 19th century it was also introduced in the province of Taranto. Gioia del Colle wine (DOC since 1987) is produced in fifteen towns in the province of Bari and it is to be obtained from 100% Primitivo grapes with maximum yields of 80 quintals per hectare. The main feature of Primivo grape consists in completing its vegetative cycle in a relatively short time (maturation takes place between the end of August and the beginning of September), although this grape germinates much later compared to other grapes.   These two features explain how rapidly the Primitivo has spread in the whole hill region called “Murgia”, but also elsewhere thanks to its early maturation. Both humidity and Spring temperatures contribute to generate frequent frosts that would damage other early grapes. As it buds remarkably late, the Primitivo can thus avoid damages coming from bad weather conditions. It’s grown on a typical soil of Murgia, being clayey, calcareous, rocky (karstic sometimes emerging rock) and rich in minerals.   Red soils and calcareous and siliceous rocks are to be found in thin layers on huge monolithic banks which are rich in sea fossils witnessing their origins. The several “Primitivos” around the region originate all from the real and unique Primitivo, that of Gioia, whose identity and image seem to have been obscured.   This is the reason why the voluntary consortium for the protection and the development of “Gioia del Colle” DOC wines has been set up, with the aim of giving Gioia’s authorship back to Primitivo (“the history of a community draws life blood from the roots of the identity of its typical products”). 

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