We left beautiful Lecce to first visit the Consorzio Produttori di Manduria.  The Consorzio is a local cooperative that was founded in 1932 that now purchases grapes from 400 carefully selected vineyards.  We were greeted by Anna who took us on a fascinating tour of their ancient building which was once a winery and wine storage facility.  Today it is a museum dedicated to Primitivo of Manduria DOC.  We were shown the ancient stone storage tanks whose walls are still stained with wine, old tools of the trade, as well as stunning ceramic wall and floor tiles recovered from ancient masserias.

We were then invited to a wonderful tasting of an extensive selection of their wines.  Anna presented the following wines to our thirsty group who were all keen to finally try the wonderful grapes of Puglia.  We tasted Leggiadro – a lovely sparkling rose 100% Negro Amaro, Sereno – a white Salento IGP of Fiano and Verdecca, Amoroso – a rose Primitivo IGP, Madrigale – Primitivo di Manduria DOCG and Elegia and Sonetto – both Primitivo DOP.  It was a big lineup before lunch but we were up for the challenge!  From time to time Vintages will bring in their wines.  Give it a try if you like big fully bodied wines characterized by red and dark fruit notes as well as floral hints.  Look out though, it comes with a punch of up to 15% alcohol! Currently a few LCBO stores have Lirica in stock.http://www.vintages.com/lcbo-ear/vintages/product/details.do?language=EN&itemNumber=326710