Afundamental role in the growth of the oenology of Apulia has been played by the house of the Zecca counts. The Zecca family moved to Apulia from Naples in the 16th century. They were not feudal lords, but rather wealthy cultivators attracted to Apulia by the excellence of the soil. The estate became particularly important from 1935 on when Count Alcibiade Zecca, with courage and entrepreneurial spirit, equipped the cellars with modern technology and turned Leverano into one of the most significant centers of commerce of the Salento peninsula. Today the brothers of Alcibiade, Francesco, Luciano, and Mario, at the head of the firm for many years, are among the few producers of Apulia who direct the entire cycle of production, from the cultivation of the grapes to their transformation into wine, the bottling, and the marketing. The most important objective of the house is to maintain, to the largest possible extent, the characteristics of the grapes grown in the zone and to offer quality wine at reasonable prices. In the context of clonal selections which are rigorous and precise, Zecca alternates high quality native varieties with international grapes which are suited for blending with those of Apulia. The modern spirit which has characterized the house in the recent past, which has opened the cellar doors to important technological innovations in all of the phases of the transformation of the grapes, has undoubtedly contributed to reconcile the more traditional aspects of the oenology of Apulia and a modern entrepreneurial spirit which has led to significant results and recognition in both national and international markets.
The level of various wines is unquestionably very encouraging: two particularly distinguished wines, house crus, are the Riserva Cantalupi Salice Salentino DOC, Negroamaro with small percentages of Malvasia Nera, and the Nero Salento IGT, Negroamaro with Cabernet Sauvignon. The former is of particular interest: yields in the vineyards have been drastically reduced and this Riserva ages for twelve months in 1200 liter oak casks where it takes on an intense ruby red color with garnet highlights with age, balanced flavors of red fruit and spice, and great length on the palate. The second cru, Nero Salento, can likewise boast characteristics of absolute excellence after a lengthy, 18 months period of barrel aging in French oak and an additional six months of bottle aging. On the palate, the red fruit and spices marry perfectly with elegant notes of vanilla and liquorice.