In 1999, the Falvo family, of Avigonesi fame in Tuscany, purchased and renovated an old property in Puglia, called Masseria Li Veli, located on the Salento plain. In 2009, they began a project called ASKOS, the idea being to use ancient varietals for making new wines incorporating modern high standards of viticulture and winemaking. The word, Askos, refers to a typical Greek earthenware jar for wine and olive oil and many are still found in the Salento region. You will see a photograph of one on the label for their 2011 bottling of the white grape named Verdeca, which I must say is a superb wine and highly suggest you don’t miss. This Verdeca is grown in the Valle D’Itria where the mineral and calcareous soil combined with a cool and windy microclimate have proven ideal for this unique grape. The wine itself emanates exotic floral, citrus and tropical fruit with a plush texture and clean finish. Have this with seafood, especially grilled with olive oil, roasted chicken with lemon or herbs, and certainly the oh so obvious of all, a Greek salad!
Gary M., Beltramo's Wine Consultant
In 1999 the Falvo family, with over 40 years of experience in the wine business, purchased and renovated the property to give birth to an ambitious project in Apulia, a region with a long vine-growing tradition. Masseria Li Veli is located on an ancient Messapian site dominating the fertile and sunny Salento plain. It was founded by the Marquis Antonio de Viti de Marco (1858-1943), an internationally known Italian economist and university professor, Radical Party Deputy of the Reign of Italy, whose ambitious project was to transform the Masseria into a model cellar for the entire South. Today the beautifully restored Masseria covers an area of 33.000sqm, 3750 of which include offices, a reception area, vinification, storage and ageing cellars.The vineyards cover a total area of 33 hectares, mainly cultivated with native alberello trained vines, with three two-bud spurs, at a high density planting (5120 plants per hectare). The layout is the settonce. This pattern was invented by Roman military engineers who for a long time used the Latin square layout, later adopting the quinconce and finally the settonce (ordo septuncialis). The latter was also represented on a coin as a regular hexagon with six corners and a point in the centre. Today the settonce layout with the alberello training system offers, more than any other system, an ideal combination of beneficial effects: high planting density, maximum soil exploitation by the vine roots, maximum exposure of foliage to the sun, good circulation of air, vines forming rows in all directions making cultivation easier, maximum equilibrium of plant growth (all plants have the same space, both externally and below ground).This white variety has been cultivated for a long time exclusively in certain areas of Apulia, particularly in the Valle d'Itria. Owing to its great resistance to disease and adaptability to different soils and conditions, for many years Verdeca was neglected and almost never used for varietal wines, but almost always for blending in dessert wines or in Vermouth, which is sold abroad in large quantities. Masseria Li Veli started making varietal Verdeca in 2009 with the intent of selecting and launching this historical local variety. Masseria Li Veli
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