A Wine Lover’s Weekly Guide To $10 Wines – An Apulia, Italy Primitivo

You may not have heard of the Italian red grape called Primitivo, but I’ll bet you are familiar with its American cousin Zinfandel. Actually some experts say that the word cousin is insufficient to express their close relationship. Whatever the connection, Primitivo doesn’t reach the heights of fine Zinfandels. The southern Italian region of Puglia, also called Apulia, is one of the best places for Primitivo wines. The producer Casa Vinicola Botter & C has been in business since 1928. The company website provides no information on this specific wine. The companion wine is a frizzante (fizzy) sweet red wine from same region of Italy costing almost twice as much.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review were purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Ogio Puglia Indicazione Geografica Tipica Primitivo 2010 13 % alcohol about $9.

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. “Tasting Note: Medium ruby color; aromas of earth, ripe black cherry, licorice and spice; dry, medium-bodied, black fruit and spice flavors with soft tannins. Serving Suggestion: Serve with pasta and meat sauce.” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine was dark and oaky. It tasted of black cherries and provided good balance. My initial meal focused on a spicy homemade roasted chicken leg. Zinnie’s cousin was long and fruity, and I tasted some smoke. When this wine encountered the side dish of leeks sauteed in olive oil its acidity became harsher, but it remained round. In the face of fruit juice candy for dessert this libation managed to retain its oaken character.

The next meal consisted of slow cooked beef ribs and potatoes. In response the Primitivo came out long, round, and balanced with a touch of tobacco and oak. Those potatoes increased the drink’s acidity. So did green beans in tomato sauce; now our Italian’s acidity was fairly harsh. Dousing the meat with Louisiana hot sauce didn’t affect the wine, and believe me, I was generous with the condiment.

My final meal was a box of Baked Ziti Siciliano that I covered with grated Parmesan cheese. The Primitivo responded with soft tannins and acidity and yet I felt I dealing with a rustic wine. Once again it was long. Ice cream and wine is usually not a marriage made in heaven. Haagen-Dazs Rocky Road (chocolate with roasted almonds and marshmallow swirls) almost wiped out this liquid.

Final verdict. I liked this wine and would buy it again without hesitation. But the producer provides several other offerings in this easy to deal with price range and I’ll be trying them first.

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but drinking fine Iwine with good company. He loves teaching computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines. His Italiian  travel website is http://www.travelitalytravel.com .

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