Best Primitivo Wine


Primitivo is an Italian red grape that many wine drinkers recognize by its American counterpart Zinfandel, although the grape’s true origin is Croatia, where the grape is known as Crljenak Kaštelanski. Some have taken to calling Primitivo ZPC to include all three grape names as an acronym. 

Primitivo has been grown in the heel of Italy, Puglia, since the 18th century, where it is now roughly the twelfth most planted grape variety. There are three DOC regions approved for the growth of Primitivo: (1) Primitivo di Manduria, (2) Gioia del Colle Primitivo and (3) Falerno del Massico Primitivo. 

The Primitivo grape thrives in this part of Italy due to the flat lying lands of the Salento Peninsula where the cooling winds of both the Adriatic and the Ionian Seas benefit the vineyards. It is usually the first grape to ripen, hence its name which means “early.”

My reviews of these Primitivo red wines are updated weekly. These Primitivo red wines offer great taste at a good price. You'll find a definition of Primitivo wine at the bottom of this page as well as food pairings for Primitivo in my wine matcher. This is just a small set of my reviews, but you can get all of them when you join my wine community.

Vinea Gladiator Primitivo Di Manduria 2004
D.O.C., Puglia, Italy
A brooding red and cousin of zinfandel. A smooth, full-bodied red with aromas of blackberries and plums. Alcohol: 14%  Sweetness: Dry  750 ml  Price: $15.95 Score: 89/100

This Vinea Gladiator Primitivo Di Manduria was reviewed May 24, 2008 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 23119  Check Stock

Gladiator 2004 Primitivo Di Manduria 2004
Puglia, Italy
Made from 100% Primitivo grapes (Zinfandel) from the Salento area of Puglia. A full-bodied, deeply delicious wine with layers of black plums. Gladiator 2004 Primitivo Di Manduria food pairings: hamburgers, game dishes, red meats. Alcohol: 14%  Sweetness: Dry  750 ml  Price: $15.75 Score: 89/100

This Gladiator 2004 Primitivo Di Manduria was reviewed April 22, 2008 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 23119  Check Stock

Coppi Peucetico Primitivo 2007
Gioia Del Colle, Puglia, Italy
Deep plushly ripe purple and black plum aromas on the nose with some blueberry jam on the palate. It's full-bodied and dry with layers of voluptuous dark fruit. Perfect for meat lovers' pizza and meat sauce pasta. Primitivo food pairings: veal scaloppini in a sun-dried tomato sauce. Alcohol: 13.5%  Sweetness: Dry  750 ml  Drink: 2013‐2016  Perfect Pasta and Tomato Sauce Wine  Best Value Red Wine  Price: $13.95 Score: 90/100

This Primitivo was reviewed January 4, 2014 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 724674  3 in stock

Fusione A-Mano Primitivo 2006
Igt Puglia, Puglia, Italy
Puglia in Southern Italy is a great source of rich, easy-to-drink reds like this consistently delicious Primitivo (aka Zinfandel). There is a striking resemblance to its American brother with its delicious notes of raspberry, red licorice, bumbleberry pie and spices. Bright fruit flavors come forth on the medium- to full-bodied palate with medium tannins providing balance on the finish. My note: A delicious, lip-smacking palate-whacker with aromas of ripe plums and pepper. A-Mano Primitivo food pairings: pizza, pasta, barbequed meats. Alcohol: 14%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Price: $15.95 Score: 88/100

This A-Mano Primitivo was reviewed April 12, 2008 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 972588  Check Stock

Leone De Castris Villa Santera Primitivo Di Manduria 2007
D.O.C., Puglia, Italy
Vintages Wine Panel: Winemakers in Puglia are specialists in crafting Primitivo (a.k.a. Zinfandel) and Leone de Castris is among the most famous producers in the region. This beautifully balanced Primitivo features aromas of plum and raspberry and is made in a much more structured style than the fruity versions coming out of California, although the familiar profile is certainly there. It will reward short-term cellaring, or savour tonight. My note: A mocha nose followed by emerging blackberry and blueberry aromas. Full-bodied and vibrant with a lust of life. Primitivo Di Manduria food pairings: grilled steaks and roasted red peppers. Alcohol: 14.5%  Sweetness: Extra Dry  750 ml  Price: $16.95 Score: 89/100

This Primitivo Di Manduria was reviewed December 5, 2009 by Natalie MacLean

LCBO: 730952  Check Stock
BC: 538918  Check Stock

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Primitivo vines may ripen unevenly, but they can produce grapes high in sugar, often resulting in an average alcohol content of 15% or higher. Primitivo can also be used for white wines and rosé. White Zinfandel is three times more popular than red Zinfandel in America. The wine typically displays rich, full-bodied, dark berry fruit aromas, and notes of pepper, raisins and black licorice, with a certain fruit sweetness to them.

Primitivo pairs well with any dish that has a touch of sweetness in it, such as barbecued ribs and chicken wings. Steaks with a sweeter sauce or rub on them pair well with Primitivo as do hamburgers with relish, ketchup and other garnishes. Creamy cheeses like brie as well as spicy sweet coconut curry dishes also work as pairings for this wine. Researched by Lesley Quinn.