When I was on my last Italian delicatessen raid, I noticed a wine they were featuring which I’d not seen carried there before. It was Primitivo Puglia IGT Terra Aprica and I love a Primitivo. Many people aren’t aware that Primitivio is in fact a Zinfandel twin. That’s right, your favorite “native” Californian grape is actually from the Adriatic coastal areas of Italy and Croatia. Much debate comes from both countries on where it originated though it’s pretty inarguable from a botany standpoint that both are clones of the native Croatian Crljenak grape. Primitivo, I find, is a bit more fruity (but not as notable in the discernment of individual fruit notes) and softer than Zinfandel. I think most of this may just be due to the wine making style and the terroir. I’ve only had Crljenak once; it was barrel aged in Slovenian oak (much like Brunello). It was very much like some of my favorite Zins but with the refinement of a high end Brunello. What I’m getting at is that this grape family has some serious heritage and can range from simple table wine to top shelf high end drinking. If you see any of the lesser known variations of Zinfandel, pick them up and impress yourself!
Primitivo Puglia IGT Terra Aprica comes in at 13% alcohol. The wine was steel tank fermented and saw no oak, meaning the tannins in the wine are all it’s own and not enhanced or changed with barrel aging. This also means the wine needs to be drunk soon after bottling and is not a candidate for aging. This wine is 100% Primitivo. My bottle was in great shape and I had no issues with the cork. We used stemless red wine glasses for tasting and it was aerated. The wine was served at about 65 degrees which is perfect for Zin or it’s clones. Upon opening the bottle there was a faint dried cherry aroma wafting around my kitchen. The wine is deep RED. Not purple of any shade, but a deep crimson. It’s so deep it’s almost black.
The nose on this wine was exceptionally soft but still aromatic. Soft spices and red fruits predominate. The red fruit was well blended but it’s certainly got a little more cherry than anything else. The first taste was all dried fruits: cherry, plum, and raisin followed by cocoa and baking spices in the finish. The finish was very long for a wine not aged in oak but it is quite soft. The tannins in this wine are soft as belgian linen. The acid was a bit lower than other red wines I’ve tried recently but it still managed to stand up to food. We liked this wine so much we even had it again a few days later!
This wine is an outstanding value at $3.50. Yeah, you didn’t misread that. It’s that cheap. This is the perfect daily drinker and cooking wine. It’s going to make perfect pot roasts, coq au vin, pan sauces, and braising liquid. It has just enough acid to stand up to tomato based faire like pizza, lasagna, and spaghetti. I’ve also served it with steak! I’d love to try it with ribs, BBQ chicken, and grilled Portobello mushrooms! If I had room in my apartment, I’d buy it by the case. My husband also adored this wine and agreed it’s as good on it’s own as it is with food. He couldn’t believe how cheap it was. Don’t let the IGT or the low price put you off. It may not be a complex wine but it’s certainly delicious. We both rated this an 88 on the standard Wine Spectator scale. It’s truly a best in class table wine; try it and see for yourself!