Full Body, Fruity (Primitivo). DOC Gioia del Colle. Alc 16.5%.
Flagship wine from winemaker* specialising in south Italy's most important grape
3/3 Glasses Gambero Rosso; 4-star Vini Buoni d'Italia; 4/5 AIS
WINERY NOTES: It is an intense red wine, with aromas of plum, blackberry fruits and spices. The mouth has great impact, the attack is thick and sweet, the progression is rich of nuances. The volume has not failures, the acidity balances the sweetness typical of the grape. The ending is pleasant, with hints of chocolate and liquorice. Recommended with cheese, roast and all Mediterranean dishes.
The Primitivo grape of Apulia - popularised in California as Zinfandel - traces its lineage back to the ancient Phoenicians who settled this part of the peninsula. This smooth, low tannin wine is now enjoying long overdue praise for its juicy and well-structured character - ideal for Asian cuisines.
*The farm "Tenute Chiaromonte" dates back to the 1820s, immediately after the official recognition of the Primitivo vine. This small family estate is now led by Nicola (4th generation winemaker since the estate became a winery in late 1990s). His wine is highly-awarded every year.
GEEK OUT ON GRAPES:
The Primitivo grape is planted along the 'heel' of Italy - the Apulia region - and its name derives from its tendency to ripen earlier than other grapes.
Its origins are interesting: It was an early grape for winemaking in Croatia (where it's known as Crljenak Kastelanski or Tribidrag) at least as far back as the 15th century. In the 18th century a clone was taken to southern Italy, where it became a popular rustic table wine. In the late 1960s this vigorous vine travelled to the US, where it became known as Zinfandel and thrived in the heat of California. In fact, grape geneticist Carole Meredith, who studied the variety in great detail, refers to it as 'ZPC' - Zinfandel / Primitivo / Crljenak Kastelanski.
Primitivo is not as challenging a vine as others, like Pinot Nero, but it does tend to ripen unevenly - meaning patches of fruit within one bunch can be close to raisins while others are under ripe. Some winemakers separate the bunches (or even individual grapes) which can add to the cost of production and increase wine pricing, while others prefer to experiment and create wine from fruit with mixed levels of ripeness.
Primitivo vines produce fruit with a high sugar content, which tends to result in wines with high levels of alcohol. Cooler climates can produce Primitivo wines with red berry aromas or flavours, but the Primitivos of southern Italy tend to hint at blackberry and liquorice plus some peppery notes.
Serve this punchy wine with rich tomato dishes, such as lasagne. Try it with a steak alongside a slightly sweet sauce or relish, or with barbeque food like sticky chicken wings. It also pairs well with spicy sweet dishes, such as coconut-based curries and also Moroccan style lamb.
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