One of the varieties that has made its mark on US shores from Southern Italy the last decade or so is Primitivo. It has strong genetic ties to Zinfandel, of course, and depending on the style its made in the similarities can be strong. Often enough however due to the differences in place of origin and handling they are pretty distinct. Today I’ll look at a Primitivo from Castello Monaci. The Castello Monaci 2008 Piluna Primitivo Salento IGT was produced using fruit from the wineries own estate vineyards. This offering is 100% Primitivo. Hand harvesting occurred overnight to assure cool temperatures. Fermentation took place over a 2 week period in a temperature controlled environment. Once fermentation was complete some of the wine was aged in a variety of French barriques with different degrees of toast; the balance was left in stainless steel. This wine has a suggested retail price of $12.99.
The nose of this 2008 Primitivo is loaded with red raspberry; underneath that hints of vanilla and cedar pop through. The palate is loaded with layer after layer of dry red fruit flavors. Touches of anise and fresh blackberry poke their heads through as well. The finish is relatively long and somewhat lusty. Earth, sour red fruits and cocoa all make their presence know here. Firm acidity keeps everything in check.
This Primitivo is delicious, and it’s also a particularly good bargain. If you wanted to drink Zinfandel with this level of quality it would cost no less than $20. Pour this for friends over a nice leisurely meal and they’ll be knocked out when they discover it's only $12.99.