Primitivo

A selection of products made using the Primtivo grape variety

Our Primitivo wines come mostly from the Puglia area of Italy, San Marzano make our selection with this varietal.

Primitivo is a superb grape that gives a wine with high alcohol, mid to low tannins and a very dark colour. It is a superb wine to serve with food as it's juicy, plumy characters really complement different types of cuisine, especially Italian food! The Primitivo grape was often sold to the makers of Amarone as their Corvina often could not achieve high enough levels of alcohol so they added some Primitivo to help in this aspect. It has been rumoured for many years that the Bordeaux wine makers also took advantage of this varietals high alcohol and great colour by adding it to their wines!

Primitivo is known as Zinfandel in the rest of the world and whilst it takes on some of the soft peppery aspects of it's American cousin it becomes a very different wine in the heat of Puglia where it thrives and is often blended with Negroamaro or Malvasia Nera. Cantine San Marzano are masters of this varietal and utilise their cooperative of over 1000 small growers to produce outstanding wines using this grape.

Primitivo wines

The Primitivo grape has a storied history in the world of Italian wines. This varietal is cultivated in the Puglia region of southern Italy, especially at Cantine San Marzano, a cooperative winery of over 1,000 small growers. Wines from this grape are known for their dark colour and high alcohol content with a mid-range tannin level. The flavours of these wines lean toward the tart side with notes of cherry, berry, and raisin. These wines are well-paired with many Italian dishes, especially those that incorporate flavours such as balsamic vinegar.

With a name like Primitivo, you might think that you are exploring the early origins of wine. However, the Italian name of this grape simply means that it is an early riser. It was named for its tendency to be one of the first grapes in the vineyard to ripen in the season. This ripening time can mean a bitter taste right off the vine, and wines from this grape often need to spend some years mellowing in the bottle or barrel.

Vintners on the Salento Peninsula believed that their early-rising grape was unique to their region. Yet, as wine culture spread across the globe, wine enthusiasts noticed a strong similarity between California Zinfandel wines and the wines of Italy made from this grape. A study taken in the 1990s showed that varietals from California and San Marzano were in fact genetically identical. A few years later, researchers discovered that there was also a genetic match with the Tribidrag grape grown in coastal Croatia. It is probable that merchants brought the grape from Croatia to Italy long ago. It then traveled to North America at some point in the 1800s.

Viticulture

These grapes grow in the iron-rich soil of Puglia. The varietal does well here as the fact that it ripens early works well with the short winters and dry summers of the southern Italian climate. In the 1990s, growers in San Marzano removed many of the vines of this variety hoping to produce more expensive wines. With the growing popularity of Zinfandel wines, there was renewed enthusiasm for using this grape in San Marzano wines.

Winery Information and Vinification

Wines using this varietal come under several different names. The Primitivo di Manduria is the most well-known variety with its bold tones and deep colour. On the sweeter side, Dolce Naturale dessert wines involve a drying process that concentrates the sugars of the grape. The spectacular 62 Anniversario Primitivo di Manduria is one of the finest examples of this wine we have ever tried.

Because of its higher alcohol content, grapes of this varietal are blended with other varietals such as Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera to increase the alcohol level. Wines labeled Salento IGT are produced on the peninsula and have more than 15% of another grape variety blended with this grape.

Tasting Notes

Wines produced from this grape are known for their bold, fruity flavours. If you are looking for subtle taste notes, this may not be the wine for you. Instead, these San Marzano wines offer you notes of fig, berry and fruit compote with an earthy finish.

Serving Suggestion

Because these wines have a strong, direct flavor, they pair well with complex, strong-flavoured foods. Many wines of this type are on the less expensive side, so you can feel comfortable enjoying them on pizza night with friends. They also go well with other Italian foods such as aubergine parmesan or balsamic-glazed steak tips.  For a good introduction to this wonderful red wine style we recommend the Il Pumo Primitivo.

 

More details on Primitivo (Zinfandel)

Many a wine drinkers first vinous experience is likely to have involved a bottle of white Zinfandel. It would likely have been pretty bottom shelf, very pink and more than a touch on the sweet side. Today white Zinfandel (a rosé style made from the black-skinned Zinfandel or Primitivo grape variety) continues to sell in huge volumes, but the grape responsible can make wines of an altogether greater finesse, quality and expression (while retaining the same huge crowd-pleasing ability).

Zinfandel is a name many would associate with Californian wine, and it is here that the grape is chiefly known by that moniker. It’s a cultivar with origins in Europe however, and in Italy it is known as Primitivo, while in Croatia (the country considered to be its original ancestral home) it goes by the name of Tribidrag. In Italy it is chiefly grown in the province of Puglia in the nation’s so called ‘heel’ – a hot, dry and sunny region suited to the production of spicy, highly flavoursome, intensely food-friendly and often boozy wines.

In recent years many of these wines have struck the golden balance between being of a generally high and consistent quality while remaining keenly priced, and as such Primitivo wines have seen a marked increase in sales in the last decade – sales buoyed in part by the popularity of wines labelled Zinfandel coming from the US.

In traditional Puglian winemaking it is often blended with another grape called Negroamaro (which we also champion at Wineman), to produce round, moreish wines with moderate tannins and a plethora of red and black fruit flavours. One of our portfolio favourites at Wineman is the 62 Anniversario Primitivo di Manduria from the quality-centric cooperative winery Cantine San Marzano (and featured on the 04/04/20 episode of The Wine Show with Joe Fattorini).

Grapes for this wine are sourced from the enclave of Manduria, a DOC with a large concentration of old, low-yielding vines widely considered to produce the best Primitivo grapes in Puglia, and the calibre of the fruit really shows through. This is the top varietal wine by Cantine San Marzano, and as such they have lavished it with the full inventory of their winemaking expertise. Vinified with a long maceration time and aged in a combination of new and old French and American oak barrels, it boasts a rich, fruity palate of blackberries, plums and prunes, with a toasty, spicy core from the oak and subtle, lip-smacking tannins. It’s a wine ready to be drunk but which might improve with a few years cellaring, and is a perfect match for bold, meaty stews and steaks as well as rich, tomato based dishes.

In America, Zinfandel can produce high quality wines too. It is in the state of California that the grape is by far the most prominent, and indeed it is here that the largest plantings of the variety can be found anywhere on earth: 48,000 acres in 2012 (for comparison, Italy had about 30,000). Californian Zin has been a style with many faces over the years. Originally imported from European vine cuttings in the mid-19th century, it took hold as grape of choice for growers during the 1880s when its hardiness and high yield meant it could be produced in quantity enough to slake the thirst of gold rush pioneers. During the late twentieth century when global commercial wine production began to hit its stride, Zinfandel became a popular choice for west coast producers seeking a reliably bold and flavoursome red wine grape to both meet huge international demand for Californian wine and to help strengthen the sometimes meagre Cabernet Sauvignon that found its way out of the lesser parts of the state.

After all these years of trial and error, Zinfandel has emerged as a true Californian star, capable of producing seriously fine wines at a price point that belies the quality. One of the best examples we offer at Wineman is the Old Vine Zinfandel from Maggio, a traditional family run winemaking business. The fruit is sourced from the region of Lodi (often considered the heartland of old vine Cali Zin) and following fermentation is aged in a considered selection of steel tanks and toasted French and American oak barrels. It packs a real flavour punch for a wine of its price, with richly scented red fruits and a brambly, spicy core – a perfect wine for matching with a summer beachfront BBQ, or maybe with a well-seasoned joint of grilled lamb.

Primitivo really is a grape suitable for all occasions, from back garden rosé drinking on warm summer evenings to matching with the Turkey for Christmas dinner. The wines are only getting better, and Wineman is pleased to supply such a broad selection across a wide range of budgets.

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Primitivo

A selection of products made using the Primtivo grape variety

Our Primitivo wines come mostly from the Puglia area of Italy, San Marzano make our selection with this varietal.

Primitivo is a superb grape that gives a wine with high alcohol, mid to low tannins and a very dark colour. It is a superb wine to serve with food as it's juicy, plumy characters really complement different types of cuisine, especially Italian food! The Primitivo grape was often sold to the makers of Amarone as their Corvina often could not achieve high enough levels of alcohol so they added some Primitivo to help in this aspect. It has been rumoured for many years that the Bordeaux wine makers also took advantage of this varietals high alcohol and great colour by adding it to their wines!

Primitivo is known as Zinfandel in the rest of the world and whilst it takes on some of the soft peppery aspects of it's American cousin it becomes a very different wine in the heat of Puglia where it thrives and is often blended with Negroamaro or Malvasia Nera. Cantine San Marzano are masters of this varietal and utilise their cooperative of over 1000 small growers to produce outstanding wines using this grape.

Primitivo wines

The Primitivo grape has a storied history in the world of Italian wines. This varietal is cultivated in the Puglia region of southern Italy, especially at Cantine San Marzano, a cooperative winery of over 1,000 small growers. Wines from this grape are known for their dark colour and high alcohol content with a mid-range tannin level. The flavours of these wines lean toward the tart side with notes of cherry, berry, and raisin. These wines are well-paired with many Italian dishes, especially those that incorporate flavours such as balsamic vinegar.

With a name like Primitivo, you might think that you are exploring the early origins of wine. However, the Italian name of this grape simply means that it is an early riser. It was named for its tendency to be one of the first grapes in the vineyard to ripen in the season. This ripening time can mean a bitter taste right off the vine, and wines from this grape often need to spend some years mellowing in the bottle or barrel.

Vintners on the Salento Peninsula believed that their early-rising grape was unique to their region. Yet, as wine culture spread across the globe, wine enthusiasts noticed a strong similarity between California Zinfandel wines and the wines of Italy made from this grape. A study taken in the 1990s showed that varietals from California and San Marzano were in fact genetically identical. A few years later, researchers discovered that there was also a genetic match with the Tribidrag grape grown in coastal Croatia. It is probable that merchants brought the grape from Croatia to Italy long ago. It then traveled to North America at some point in the 1800s.

Viticulture

These grapes grow in the iron-rich soil of Puglia. The varietal does well here as the fact that it ripens early works well with the short winters and dry summers of the southern Italian climate. In the 1990s, growers in San Marzano removed many of the vines of this variety hoping to produce more expensive wines. With the growing popularity of Zinfandel wines, there was renewed enthusiasm for using this grape in San Marzano wines.

Winery Information and Vinification

Wines using this varietal come under several different names. The Primitivo di Manduria is the most well-known variety with its bold tones and deep colour. On the sweeter side, Dolce Naturale dessert wines involve a drying process that concentrates the sugars of the grape. The spectacular 62 Anniversario Primitivo di Manduria is one of the finest examples of this wine we have ever tried.

Because of its higher alcohol content, grapes of this varietal are blended with other varietals such as Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera to increase the alcohol level. Wines labeled Salento IGT are produced on the peninsula and have more than 15% of another grape variety blended with this grape.

Tasting Notes

Wines produced from this grape are known for their bold, fruity flavours. If you are looking for subtle taste notes, this may not be the wine for you. Instead, these San Marzano wines offer you notes of fig, berry and fruit compote with an earthy finish.

Serving Suggestion

Because these wines have a strong, direct flavor, they pair well with complex, strong-flavoured foods. Many wines of this type are on the less expensive side, so you can feel comfortable enjoying them on pizza night with friends. They also go well with other Italian foods such as aubergine parmesan or balsamic-glazed steak tips.  For a good introduction to this wonderful red wine style we recommend the Il Pumo Primitivo.

 

More details on Primitivo (Zinfandel)

Many a wine drinkers first vinous experience is likely to have involved a bottle of white Zinfandel. It would likely have been pretty bottom shelf, very pink and more than a touch on the sweet side. Today white Zinfandel (a rosé style made from the black-skinned Zinfandel or Primitivo grape variety) continues to sell in huge volumes, but the grape responsible can make wines of an altogether greater finesse, quality and expression (while retaining the same huge crowd-pleasing ability).

Zinfandel is a name many would associate with Californian wine, and it is here that the grape is chiefly known by that moniker. It’s a cultivar with origins in Europe however, and in Italy it is known as Primitivo, while in Croatia (the country considered to be its original ancestral home) it goes by the name of Tribidrag. In Italy it is chiefly grown in the province of Puglia in the nation’s so called ‘heel’ – a hot, dry and sunny region suited to the production of spicy, highly flavoursome, intensely food-friendly and often boozy wines.

In recent years many of these wines have struck the golden balance between being of a generally high and consistent quality while remaining keenly priced, and as such Primitivo wines have seen a marked increase in sales in the last decade – sales buoyed in part by the popularity of wines labelled Zinfandel coming from the US.

In traditional Puglian winemaking it is often blended with another grape called Negroamaro (which we also champion at Wineman), to produce round, moreish wines with moderate tannins and a plethora of red and black fruit flavours. One of our portfolio favourites at Wineman is the 62 Anniversario Primitivo di Manduria from the quality-centric cooperative winery Cantine San Marzano (and featured on the 04/04/20 episode of The Wine Show with Joe Fattorini).

Grapes for this wine are sourced from the enclave of Manduria, a DOC with a large concentration of old, low-yielding vines widely considered to produce the best Primitivo grapes in Puglia, and the calibre of the fruit really shows through. This is the top varietal wine by Cantine San Marzano, and as such they have lavished it with the full inventory of their winemaking expertise. Vinified with a long maceration time and aged in a combination of new and old French and American oak barrels, it boasts a rich, fruity palate of blackberries, plums and prunes, with a toasty, spicy core from the oak and subtle, lip-smacking tannins. It’s a wine ready to be drunk but which might improve with a few years cellaring, and is a perfect match for bold, meaty stews and steaks as well as rich, tomato based dishes.

In America, Zinfandel can produce high quality wines too. It is in the state of California that the grape is by far the most prominent, and indeed it is here that the largest plantings of the variety can be found anywhere on earth: 48,000 acres in 2012 (for comparison, Italy had about 30,000). Californian Zin has been a style with many faces over the years. Originally imported from European vine cuttings in the mid-19th century, it took hold as grape of choice for growers during the 1880s when its hardiness and high yield meant it could be produced in quantity enough to slake the thirst of gold rush pioneers. During the late twentieth century when global commercial wine production began to hit its stride, Zinfandel became a popular choice for west coast producers seeking a reliably bold and flavoursome red wine grape to both meet huge international demand for Californian wine and to help strengthen the sometimes meagre Cabernet Sauvignon that found its way out of the lesser parts of the state.

After all these years of trial and error, Zinfandel has emerged as a true Californian star, capable of producing seriously fine wines at a price point that belies the quality. One of the best examples we offer at Wineman is the Old Vine Zinfandel from Maggio, a traditional family run winemaking business. The fruit is sourced from the region of Lodi (often considered the heartland of old vine Cali Zin) and following fermentation is aged in a considered selection of steel tanks and toasted French and American oak barrels. It packs a real flavour punch for a wine of its price, with richly scented red fruits and a brambly, spicy core – a perfect wine for matching with a summer beachfront BBQ, or maybe with a well-seasoned joint of grilled lamb.

Primitivo really is a grape suitable for all occasions, from back garden rosé drinking on warm summer evenings to matching with the Turkey for Christmas dinner. The wines are only getting better, and Wineman is pleased to supply such a broad selection across a wide range of budgets.

Sort by:
Showing 1 to 9 of 9
view: per page
Sort by:
Showing 1 to 9 of 9
view: per page