16 Mar 1 Comment Cooking with Jeff and Cristina Recommended Wines , , ,

If you love Red Zins, then you’ll LOVE Primitivo.  Why you ask?  Because.. well… they’re essentially the same thing.  Zinfandel is a variety of red grape typically known to California.  In fact, the Zinfandel grape is planted in over 10% of all Californian vineyards.  It was found that the DNA of the Zinfandel grape and the Italian Primitivo are essentially the same.  Primitivo was introduced in the 18th century and is traditionally grown in Puglia, or the “heel” of Italy.  In the mid-19th century the American version became known as Zinfandel, but the origin of the name is unknown.

The taste varies on the ripeness of the grape.  Red berry fruit flavors are typically from cooler areas while blackberry, anise, and pepper notes are more from warmer temperature areas.  Primitivo is from a warm region and is known to be made from the early ripening grapes.

Historically, the grape was fermented and shipped north to Tuscany and Piedmont where it was used as a blending grape to enhance the body of thin red wines produced in those areas. When the link between Primitivo and Zinfandel began to emerge, plantings in the region and production of non-blended varietal increased.  Today most Italian Primitivo is made as a rustic, highly alcoholic red wine with up to 16% alcohol by volume (ABV). Some Italian winemakers age the wines in new American oak to imitate American-style Zinfandel.

Ok… so there’s your lesson.  Now, here is recommended Red Zin & Primitivo for your drinking pleasure this weekend!

PoiZin Zinfandel ($25.00)

Flaio Primitivo ($8.99)

Cheers!