#newwinethisweek Week 43 – Primitivo, Puglia

After an unusual week of non-alcoholic beverages on #newwinethisweek, Mike has come back to his senses and gone back to what he knows and loves best for week 43; we’re heading to the heel of Italy to check out Primitivo:


The Primitivo grape was introduced to Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot, in the 18th century; the vast majority of Italian Primitivo is grown in the region but it still estimated to be the 12th largest planted variety in the entire country. Puglia is an excellent source of intense and alcoholic red wines, as well as Primitivo the region is also well regarded for the powerful wines made with the Negroamaro grape, but that’s for another day; this week we are focused on Primitivo.


Primitivo is a black grape that produces wines with big body, high alcohol and intense dark fruit flavours. The word ‘Primitivo’ itself roughly translates as “early one”, referring to the variety’s early-ripening nature, and recent DNA analysis has shown that Primitivo is the same variety as Zinfandel.

If it’s value for money you’re after, you’re looking in the right place. These wines certainly aren’t backwards in coming forwards, and if value was an equation between price and intensity, then Primitivo would be close to the top of the league. The fruit is black and concentrated, ripe blackberries and plums; there will be black pepper spice, liquorice notes and rustic tannins. This is a wine that often needs food; think highly flavoured pasta dished like puttanesca, or a slow and low cooked lamb shoulder… just perfect as the winter nights draw in. The other food match that keeps coming up is aubergine, such as ‘melanzane alla Parmigiana’, but I’ll leave that to you as I can stand the things!


So you’ve learnt a bit about it Primitivo, now it’s time to taste! I’m going to give the £5 Tesco option ago along with something over £10 because I think it’s a grape that a few extra pounds paid will represent a big upside in quality:

Canti Primitivo 2012, Puglia (Tesco £5.00 was £7.49)

I Crinali Primitivo 2012, Puglia (Morrisons £9.99)

Paolo Leo Primitivo di Manduria 2012, Puglia (Waitrose £10.99)

Cantine San Marzano Primitivo di Manduria ‘Falo’ 2012, Puglia (Wine & the Vine £13.95)




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Posted on October 30, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Sounds like a great wine- especially, like you said, with some nice wintery food.

  2. Wow, that’s a big one! I opened a bottle of Cantine San Marzano Primitivo di Manduria ‘Falo’ 2011 (Wine & the Vine £13.95) on Saturday night. It wasn’t supposed to be opened until Sunday to go with my lasagne but my Shiraz finished a little earlier than anticipated so I though what the heck.

    The Falo is a super-concentrated monster; I should’ve known this when I first picked it up – it comes in one of those super thick bottles that you usually have to pay £30 for. But this wine really delivers; the fruit is deep and rich; plums, cherries, damsons even. The texture is silky-smooth and there is a chocolaty note, even a touch of tapenade behind the super-charged fruit. And the length is superb. I get some real quality oak spice on the finish, but apparently it only spends 4 months in French oak. Not one for the feint hearted, but this is a seriously good wine for under £15. 8.5/10

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