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, even though it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue the way the wine does. You’ll find my Top 10 Primitivo reviews and ratings here.
2. 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 primi which means “early.”
3. Primitivo vines may ripen unevenly, but they can produce grapes high in sugar, often resulting in an average alcohol content of 15% or higher.
4. Primitivo can also be used for white wines and rosé. White Zinfandel is three times more popular than red Zinfandel in America.
5. The red 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.
There are three Italian DOC regions approved for the growth of Primitivo: (1) Primitivo di Manduria, (2) Gioia del Colle Primitivo and (3) Falerno del Massico Primitivo. Researched by Lesley Quinn.
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