Rivera is one of the great estates in Italy.
The estate excels with their reds, which are not only gorgeous in absolute terms, but also exceedingly fairly priced. Rivera makes wines that capture the exuberance that Puglia is capable of, while maintaining a gorgeous sense of structure. Readers who want to discover the wines of Puglia would do well to start with Rivera.
Rivera and the de Corato family
The de Corato family roots go deep into the agriculture of Puglia. Here, in the countryside of Andria, Sebastiano de Corato founded the Azienda Vinicola Rivera in the late 1940s, inspired by a vision of realising, and bringing to the world’s attention, the enormous viticultural potential of the Castel del Monte area. Widespread recognition quickly followed and since then Rivera, has become the benchmark of Puglia quality wine production and the force driving its rebirth, thanks also to innovations in both vineyards and winemaking introduced since the early 1980s by his son Carlo. With the involvement of the third generation of the family represented by Carlo’s sons Sebastiano and Marco, Rivera continues with pride and renewed commitment the production of wines that eloquently express the intense yet elegant character of this land and its native grape varieties. The winery’s winemaking philosophy is rigorously applied to every step of the process: vineyard management, grape harvest, winemaking, maturation and bottling; the most up-to-date viticultural and oenological practices are married to the deepest respect for natural processes, with all activities focused on achieving environmental and economic sustainability and on continuous improvement in quality.
Rivera’s programme of uncompromising quality begins with its expert management of its 75 hectares of estate vineyards, farmed according to the protocols of sustainable viticulture. Planted at high vine densities per hectare, they are trained to the spurred cordon and Guyot systems and to low yields per vine. The vineyards are located in sites which cover two different terroirs. Rivera, Torre di Bocca and Coppa parcels at 200-230 metres with deep tufa-limestone soils yield fine native-variety grapes, the whites with firm acidities and the reds of impressive elegance and structure. The picturesque Lama di Corvo vineyard, overlooking the Adriatic Sea and the Gargano massif, lies in the rocky soils of the Alta Murgia at 350 metres, and produces chardonnay and sauvignon blanc marked by a fine crispness and minerality.
The remaining grape needs are met by a few long-trusted local grapegrowers.
The Rivera wine cellars testify to the history and evolution of wine production in the 20th century. The historical nucleus dates back to the late 1800s with a newer wing added in the 1960s that includes glass lined cement vats, now completely temperature controlled.
A modern, efficient winemaking facility now rises next to them, with small stainless-steel fermenters custom-designed for on-the-skins macerations for the reds and rosés. Maturation of the red wines takes place in two below-ground barrel cellars, one with over 400 French oak barriques, the other with large botti, both 3,000-litre French oak and 5,500-litre Slavonian oak.
The entire winery complex is today served by a solar-panel installation that covers 70% of its energy needs.