Puglia has a long agrarian history, thanks to its relatively high proportion of flat or rolling terrain suitable for growing crops. For many centuries, Puglia’s agriculture was dominated by extensive land grants from the ruling nobility. Known as latifundi, these holdings were the equivalent of plantations or haciendas in other countries, often controlled by absentee landowners and worked by local peasants and sharecroppers. Beginning in the 16th century in Puglia, many of these latifundi began to build structures known as masserie. The masseria was sort of a cross between a castle and a farmhouse and was designed to improve the life of the farmworkers. It was typically a large stone building located in or near the fields of the latifundo with room for the managers and many of the farmworkers to sleep and for storage of equipment and harvests. It was also intended to be strong enough to protect the inhabitants from raids by pirates, bandits, and marauding soldiers.
The latifundi began to be broken up during the period of Napoleonic rule in Italy at the end of the 1700s and early 1800s, and the essentially feudal system that they represented was outlawed in 1950. By that time, most of the masserias had fallen into disrepair. One such ruin was Masseria Li Veli, located near the center of the Salento Peninsula in southern Puglia, on the southern slopes of the Murgia plateau. Many masserias have been reconstructed as residences or agritourism accommodations beginning in the 1970s, but this particular one was rebuilt much earlier for a different purpose.
The crumbling Masseria Li Veli was acquired in the late 19th century by Marchese Antonio de Viti de Marco (1858–1943), an important economist and professor who was influential in the theory of public finance in the Kingdom of Italy. In 1895, the masseria was restored to serve as a model wine cellar, demonstrating an ambitious concept for economic development for all of southern Italy. It stayed in operation until the 1950s.
The masseria is once again functioning as an important winemaking facility, having been renovated and modernized into an up-to-date production center for the Li Veli wines. The Falvo family, former owners of the Avignonesi winery in Tuscany but with Puglian roots, purchased the masseria and its 128 acres of land in 1999 and breathed new life into de Viti de Marco’s project. The vision is to establish a new quality benchmark in the region, through both vineyard management and vinification.
MASSERIA LI VELI "TORREMOSSA" FIANO SALENTO IGT
Fiano is a grape variety typically associated with Campania on the other side of the Apennines from Puglia, but Puglia’s plantings of Fiano have been increasing, and the variety seems well suited to this region. Li Veli makes this Fiano as one of its two white-wine offerings.
MASSERIA LI VELI “TORREROSE” PRIMITIVO ROSATO SALENTO IGT
Masseria Li Veli Torrerose Primitvo Rosati is the second wine in the Torrerose line. This wine is made from Primitivo grapes, a grape that got a boost in recognition when it was found to be a forerunner to Zinfandel. Primitivo is widely planted throughout Puglia and is well-suited to making a Rosè wine.
MASSERIA LI VELI “TORREROSE” NEGROAMARO ROSATO SALENTO IGT
The Salento area and its leading grape variety Negroamaro are recognized as producing some of Italy’s best rosato (pink) wines. Masseria Li Veli Torrerose is a great example of this hearty style of rosé wine.
MASSERIA LI VELI “ORION” PRIMITIVO SALENTO IGT
While Masseria Li Veli focuses much of its attention on Negroamaro, Orion is dedicated to the other important grape variety of the Salento Peninsula: Primitivo. The Italian alter ego of Croatia’s Tribidrag and California’s Zinfandel, Primitivo has been grown in Puglia for centuries and is gaining newfound recognition in Italy. The wine’s name, Orion, is not related to the constellation, but rather to an ancient wall. Orion means “limit” or “boundary” in Greek, and a wall that once served as the boundary of Salento when this was a Greek colony is today a country road that runs alongside Li Veli’s Primitivo vineyard.
MASSERIA LI VELI “PRIMONERO” NEGROAMARO SALENTO IGT
Salento peninsula has always been a great wine producing area of Italy and a land of crossing cultures. Primonero was born from the heart of this land with its most representative grape: Negroamaro, whose name emphasizes the dark colour of its fruit: niger from the Latin “black” and amauros from the Greek “dark”. In memory of Greeks and Romans, the two main cultures dominating and crossing each other in this region.
MASSERIA LI VELI “PASSAMANTE” SALICE SALENTINO DOC
Passamante is Masseria Li Veli’s entry Salice Salentino, the Negroamaro-based wine that defines the Salento Peninsula. Though no oak aging is required for non-riserva Salice Salentino wines, Li Veli gives Passamante 6 months in barriques to round out the wine and introduce additional complexity. Passamante is the name of the wooded area next to the vineyard.
MASSERIA LI VELI “ASKOS” VERDECA SALENTO IGT
Masseria Li Veli features little-known native grape varieties of Puglia in its Askos line. Verdeca is the white entry in this line. Not much Verdeca is grown in Puglia, and almost none outside the region, so it’s exciting to see a varietal Verdeca wine like this one from Li Veli. Askos is a Greek word for a type of wine container, harkening back to the pre-Roman days when the Ancient Greeks colonized Puglia and produced wine here—perhaps from Verdeca.
MASSERIA LI VELI “ASKOS” SUSUMANIELLO ROSATO SALENTO IGT
Masseria Li Veli features little-known native grape varieties of Puglia in its Askos line. With just 125 acres (50 ha) in all of Italy, Susumaniello certainly fits in that category. Li Veli’s varietal Susumaniellos are a rare opportunity to taste this ancient grape variety that is just starting to garner attention. This wine is a pink version, essentially a white wine made with red Susumaniello grapes.
MASSERIA LI VELI “ASKOS” SUSUMANIELLO SALENTO IGT
Masseria Li Veli features little-known native grape varieties of Puglia in its Askos line. With just 125 acres (50 ha) in all of Italy, Susumaniello certainly fits in that category. Li Veli’s varietal Susumaniellos are a rare opportunity to taste this ancient grape variety that is just starting to garner attention.
MASSERIA LI VELI “ASKOS” PRIMITIVO SALENTO IGT
Li Veli features native grape varieties of Puglia in its Askos line. Primitivo is now well known, but it remains in the shadow of Negroamaro and several other Italian grape varieties, so Li Veli includes it in this project.
MASSERIA LI VELI “PEZZO MORGANA” SALICE SALENTINO RISERVA DOC
Masseria Li Veli Pezzo Morgana is a single-vineyard Negroamaro from the Salice Salentino denomination. The vineyard is planted using the ancient Settonce system based on hexagonal distribution rather than rows. This wine is a riserva, which requires at least 2 years of aging, including 6 months or more in wood.
MASSERIA LI VELI “MLV” SALENTO IGT
Masseria Li Veli's “MLV” is their top label wine and is dedicated to the noble founder of the original Masseria - the Marchese Antonio De Viti De Marco (1858-1943). With the 2020 vintage the wine combines two high-end Salento Primitivo vineyards from on the estate into one wine, creating our ideal expression of Salento Primitivo. Fruit from the Montecoco vineyard, just south of the winery and Primitivo and Cabernet from the Veli vineyard – the oldest of the estate. The wine is fermented in 50L oak cask, with malolactic carried out in barrique.
Masseria Li Veli “Passamante” Salice Salentino DOC 2021
A creamy, medium-bodied red, with aromas of Mediterranean scrub and spiced orange peel wafting through dark, juicy sun-dried cherry fruit that's under scored by loamy earth and mocha. Fresh and lightly chewy on the finish. Drink now. 7,500 cases made, 3,500 cases imported.
Masseria Li Veli “Torrerose” Negroamaro Rosato Salento IGT 2019
A bright, boisterous nose of peach, melon and apricot starts off this fruity but balanced rosato. Rounded and juicy in feel, the palate offers creamy melon and stone fruit flavors upfront that progress to more citric elements of grapefruit and orange zest. It ends on a lingering apricot peel note that leaves a crisp, delightfully tactical sensation.
Masseria Li Veli “Askos” Susumaniello Rosato Salento IGT 2020
THE 25 BEST ROSÉ WINES OF 2021
RANKED #3 Deeply flavorful with excellent concentration, this well-rounded rosé wowed our panel. Essences of licorice, basil, and red fruit make this wine stand out among the pack. Soft and creamy with a subtle dollop of sweetness. The wine is round on the palate, yet it's crisp and refreshing. It smells like honeysuckle and orange blossoms, with an affordable price point, it’s a great bottle to bring to summer gatherings large and small.
Masseria Li Veli “Askos” Verdeca Salento IGT 2019
Rich aromas of melon and apple meld with white blossoms on the nose. This is playful and fruity on the palate in juicy tones of apricot skins and pineapple, while a gentle grip of white tea and tangy acidity keep it all buttoned up.
Masseria Li Veli “Askos” Susumaniello Rosato Salento IGT 2019
Exotic and remarkably pretty, the 2019 Masseria Li Veli Susumaniello Rosato Askos wafts up from the glass with notes of dried peaches, kiwi, sweet florals, and white smoke. Silky textures then flood the senses with cooling minerals and ripe orchard fruits, carried over a core of vibrant acids, as this gains further depth and sweetness, which resonates throughout the finish. I must say that I find myself enamored by this varietal Susumaniello from Salento; it simply pleases from start to finish.
Masseria Li Veli “Torrerose” Negroamaro Rosato Salento IGT 2021
Negroamaro is a grape native to Puglia, the heel of the Italian boot. The name translates to "black bitter", which is what it tastes like straight off the vine. It makes wonderful, food-friendly, medium-bodied reds with meaty, earthy fruit. As a rosé, this grape takes on a different personality. It sheds its savory vibe to reveal a spritely, super refreshing, dark pink wine. Like this one here. It retains its depth with mild acidity yet pops with complexity rivaling some casual Provence rosé.
Masseria Li Veli “Torrerose” Negroamaro Rosato Salento IGT 2021
A bouquet of pretty florals, sweet smoke and crushed apples waft up from the 2021 Rosato Negroamaro Torrerose. It’s softly textured with medium-bodied weight, nicely framed by bright acidity, as perfumed orchard fruits cascade across the palate. This leaves a mineral and green citrus note while finishing with medium length.
Masseria Li Veli “Askos” Susumaniello Salento IGT 2022