Primitivo Ad Hoc
JAMMY AND RIPE FULL BODIED RED
Primitivo, Zinfandel or Tribidrag? These wines are all made from the same grape but planted in different places leading to the different names. Almost everyone agrees, today, that Italy’s Primitivo and California’s Zinfandel are genetically the same grape. At some point in history Primitivo arrived in Puglia in Southern Italy from the coastal vineyards of Croatia (just across the Adriatic Sea), where it is still grown today, under various names including Tribidrag and Crljenak Kasteljanski. After landing in Puglia, this black grape took root surprisingly well and in the early 19th Century, Southern Italian immigrants, brought their native grapes to California where it took the name of Zinfandel and it is today the fourth most planted wine grape.
Primitivo is one of the first grapes to be picked in Italy. Indeed, the name Primitivo translates roughly as "early one" and refers to the variety's early-ripening nature. It shares this quality with Spain's Tempranillo: “temprano” means "early" in Spanish. With 11,000 hectares of this grape planted, Puglia is Primitivo’s home in Italy. Primitivo is a grape variety difficult to grow and many hectares have been destroyed under the EU vine-pulling scheme in recent times. It is not the most resistant variety, as it is susceptible to drought, spring frosts and floral abortion. The bunches are very compact and susceptible to vine pests and they tend to ripen unevenly. The berries accumulate sugar easily (hence the high alcohol strength) and they have a very good concentration of anthocyanins (hence the dark deep colour of the wine).
Primitivo had been a popular blending grape but it is now being made into distinctive, high-quality, wines. Primitivo has made a name for itself as accessible without becoming expensive. It is smooth and easy to drink with its spiciness and supple fruit without losing complexity. Primitivo grapes give big, bold wine high in alcohol with medium levels of tannins and acidity. They show flavours reminiscent of ripe dark berries – like blueberry and blackberry – as well as liquorice, tobacco and black pepper. Primitivo is a terroir sensitive grape and the location and climate where it grows can have some influence on the style of the wine. Travelling around Puglia one can come across with extra rich, luscious and full bodied Primitivos from the hotter province of Taranto (Primitivo di Manduria DOC), Lecce and Brindisi (Primitivo Salento IGT) in the Southern part of the region. Here the vines are generally planted on flatland rich in red sand and clay, “terre rosse” in Italian. On the other hand, in Northern Puglia (province of Bari), Primitivos tend to be fresher, nervier with greater acidity. Here vines are planted on hillside vineyards between 250 and 500 meters above sea level on shallow calcareous soil rich in minerals. Grapes benefit of higher altitudes, wider day-night temperature shifts and lower average yearly temperatures compared to hotter areas in Southern Puglia.
Primitivo di Manduria DOC “Ad Hoc” from Tenute Giustini is a bold and big red made from over thirty years old vines planted on three hectares of vineyards between the villages of San Giorgio Jonico and Faggiano in the province of Taranto. Here the climate is hot and dry boosting the grapes to ripe and giving the wine unbelievable concentration. It’s full of plummy and cherry flavours with tobacco spicy notes bursting through on the palate. Ageing in oak for three months gives it an extra elegance and smoothing.
30 years old vines are planted over 3 ha in San Giorgio Jonico and Faggiano, near Taranto, on calcareous soil rich in clay.
The yields per hectare range from 6 to 8 tons.
Grapes are harvested early in September. The fermentation takes place in thermo-controlled stainless steel vats. The wine undertakes a short refinement in Frenck oak barriques (3 months).
Lots of dry prune and raisins on the nose. Dry fruit aromas still dominates a spicy palate with some chocolate notes. It is powerful with dusty tannins. Ageing in oak for three months gives it an extra elegance and smoothing.
The jammy and bold flavours of this Primitivo makes it an excellent companion for sweet and spicy barbecue sauces. Its sweet taste makes it a great red wine to pair with dishes with a touch of spiciness such as tomato-based curries, chili con carne and beef stews. Salty and rich cheeses such as smoked gouda, cheddar and parmesan are also a good pairing. It also pairs well with grilled Halloumi as well as salty blue cheese like Stilton.
Alcohol (ABV): 14.5%