Monday, April 27, 2009

Primitivo from Puglia

This month's Italian wine focus was on Puglia, the heel of the Italian peninsula's boot.

The best known Puglian red grape variety is Primitivo, a grape that has a close relationship to Zinfandel. Both Primitivo and Zinfandel are descended from a common ancestor: the Croatian grape Crljenak. Zinfandel is identical to Crljenak, while Primitivo is a clone of Crljenak. You can find more information about the mysterious identity of Zinfandel and the genetic decoding of it by clicking here.

I used to drink a lot of Zin, but in recent years I've found them overwhelming and difficult to pair with food. So I was intrigued to see what an Italian Primitivo would be like.

The 2007 Petraio Primitivo was proof that you can make a wine with this group of grapes that comes in at around 13% alc/vol--and that it's a good thing when it does. There were faint raspberry and chalk aromas that were restrained and opened up slowly with air. These were followed by crisp blackberry fruit, some spice, and a nice acidity at the core that will make it a great pair for pasta with red sauce or pizza.

Best of all is the price. With a suggested retail of $8.50, this wine is guaranteed to please for a budget price and represents very good QPR. This is a new vintage, but expect to see it soon at stores such as Specs (where you can find the 2005 vintage). For more information on when and where it might become available near you, contact the importer, The Marchetti Company.

Full Disclosure: I received this wine as a sample.


Mike said...

Great post!

Simple Wine Talk said...


I mentioned in a previous comment on your blog a Primitivo wine I found last year. Its a blend from Puglia, made by Tormaresca and called "Neprica". The blend is of Primitivo, Negromaro and Cab. grapes. A great value and as you would say an excellent QPR.

I've made mention of your blog on mine and really like your writing style and knowledge. Any help like a listing on your wine blog list for me would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and I'll keep checking back for your new posts.


wineywhites said...

Excellent post. Makes me very curious about trying some of this wine, and this grape! Thanks!

Unknown said...

I agree, Primitivo is a very food friendly and affordable wine. Where we are (Maine) prices have been inching up in the last few years, but it's still common to find a good Primitivo for under $10. Great with Italian foods, and better if opened early and allowed to soften.

I've added a link to your blog as well, stop by by and check out my wine musings.

wanemardo said...

In terms of what Puglia wines you can find in the good ole US of A, most are not imported to the US! :-( There are some wonderful reds from the Manduria and Salento appellations.
My favorite Primitivo is "A Mano", an IGT version from a few miles outside the Manduria region. Best one in the $8-$12 value.
I second the comment regarding Tormoresca's "Neprica" blend.
And if you ever see a "Salice Salentino", try it, you will like it as well.
If only I was still living there! I drank a lot of those wines with very good simple original Italian meals, and the seafoods are to die for. Next vacation, we are going back there... :-)