Founded in 2002 by Gaëtano Marangelli and his brother Vito, Pietra (Menhir Salento) is in Minervino di Lecce, a medieval village situated in the eastern part of the Salento peninsula, not far from the sunny beaches of Otranto. Enologist Vincenzo Laera oversees the 45 hectares of vines, some of which are alberello-trained. They grow on shallow red soils with layers of calcareous rock. Only indigenous varieties are planted: Verdeca, Minutolo, Malvasia, Primitivo, Susumaniello, Negroamaro (7 ha), Aleatico. The vineyards are usually dry-farmed – irrigation is only provided in exceptionally dry vintages, and cover crops are used to provide nitrogen to the soil.
At the heart of the estate is a 17th century baronial palace that houses Origano Osteria, the celebrated family restaurant, opened in 2012. The property also contains a Mediterranean garden, which hosts live concerts and outdoor dinners during the warmer months, along with ancient underground olive presses and an organic farm. Adjacent to the vineyards, Miriam Daniele, Gaëtano’s wife and brand ambassador for Menhir Salento, has curated gardens of local flowers to preserve biodiversity and create little oasis of peace and poetry.
Farming practices: certified organic since 2019. Pietra does a small number of treatments using a minimum quantity of natural active ingredients (among which salicylic acid from willow bark and arecoline from areca nuts). They are only performed when needed. To increase soil fertility, Pietra uses cover crop (sovescio), such as field fava bean, which grows up to 30 inches tall. In the spring, it is cut and buried under the vines, giving the soil nutrients and structure. The weeding is done by hand.