A look at Italian Primitivo

A Mano Puglia Primitivo IGT 2005
Fine for the price – it shows some Zin-like jammy fruit and complexity probably from a bit of brett. The latest bottle sample in April ’08 was especially supple and Zin-like. Bot for Amano in Castellaneta, just above Taranto in Salento in Puglia imp by Empson Alexandria VA $10.99 at Bottle Barn

Gran Sasso Puglia Primitivo IGT 2005 *of the flight!
Oaky and earthy with new world fruit. There is an appropriate amount of acid to brighten the wine thus it lacks the disappointing mushiness of many Italian Primitivo. Very Nice and well-priced for value! 13% bottled by an undisclosed coop. or custom crush facility in S. Marzano in Taranto $8.99 at Traverso’s.

Tormaresca Salento Primitivo IGT Torcicoda 2003
Drinks like Zin with more tannin than the average and some complexing brett in the background The 2nd bottle unfortunately had overheated and was leaking; the flavor was quite cooked and alcoholic. An old vine Primitivo selection 14.5% Bottled in Minervino Murge in S. Pietro Vernotico, located just south of Brindisi in Salento on the Adriatic side of Puglia. Fermented in stainless, aged 12 mos. in Fr. And Hungarian oak, unfiltered $18 at Traverso’s www.tormaresca.it

Tenuta Pozzopalo Primitivo di Manduria DOC Giravolta 2004
Like some Sierra Foothills Zin with port and dried fruit characters, also browning and soft. The 2nd and third bottles were even more so in the direction of falling apart and old. 14% Bottled by Racemi in Manduria in Salento in the part of Puglia adjacent to the Golfo di Taranto. Accademia dei Racemi is a collaborative production and marketing effort of growers and producers from Manduria while maintaining separate brand identities, imp by Villaitaliawines $18 at Traverso’s www.accademiadeiracemi.it

Sinfarosa, Primitivo del Tarantio IGT 2003
This wine smells of a pleasing combination of sweet cherries and earth. In the mouth it is lean and acidic with a fair amount of astringency. OK but should be less expensive given the taste profile. 100% Primitivo aged in 50% Slavonian and 50% stainless. Sinfarosa is one of the estates participating in the Accademia consortium and the estate is located near Taranto in Salento. 13% bottled by the Accademia dei Racemi in Manduria in Salento in Puglia $12.99 at Bottle Barn in May ’08, up to $19.95 at Traverso’s in October ’08 www.accademiadeiracemi.it

Pichierri Primitivo del Tarantino IGT Le Petrose 2002
More microbial than the ripest of cheeses; this wine combines the smell of rubber with the intense smell of an overripe brie cheese rind; the wine is quite tannic and the cheese character carries over in the mouth. 100% Primitivo, Le Petrose is one of 9 Primitivo cuvees produced for the Pichierri family, longtime growers in the region. The IGT zone Tarantio spreads out from Taranto in Salento. The wine is made in the coop at Sava for the Pichierri family. 14% P&B by Vincola Savese in Sava just west of Manduria in Salento in Puglia $11.99 at Bottle Barn www.vinipichierri.com

About Ray

Ray Johnson is the Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University. He writes about food and wine, his travels and the business of wine. He makes his home in Sonoma County, California.
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