Uncovering the Secrets of Primitivo di Manduria: A Wine Lover’s Guide
Primitivo di Manduria is one of the leading red wines of Puglia. It is a structured and powerful wine, very fruity but velvety, that, although it has a minimum alcohol content of 14 degrees, always manages to be pleasant and very drinkable.
Everything is in the maturation stage, which is very early, as the name implies. Primitivo is also harvested as early as the second half of August. Despite this, the polyphenolic maturation is already perfect, and the quantity of sugars in the berries is remarkable.
The organoleptic characteristics of Primitivo di Manduria
It is a warm, sumptuous, and enveloping wine, with a fruity bouquet of plums and cherries in alcohol, blueberry jam, withered flowers, spicy notes, and unmistakable scents of Mediterranean scrub.
Even though it has a high alcohol content, the taste is structured, warm, rightly tannic, moderately sour, slightly salty, well-modulated, with depth of sip and good drinkability.
In its youth, it is purple and markedly fruity. As it ages, it tends to turn a color between garnet and brick, and it starts to smell like classic tertiary aromas.
Primitivo di Manduria: the wine that loves the sea
Yes, because the Primitivo is born near the sea and carries within itself the flavors of the waves of the Ionian Sea and not only of soils made of limestone and clays. And it is good that the low saplings are born near the sea: the saltiness adds minerality, nuances, and charm to what would otherwise be an overly full and structured wine.
There are many good Primitivos, tasty, fruity wines, but to make a great Primitivo, you need attention and respect, as well as not overly aggressive aging in wood; otherwise, you risk poisoning the richness of this noble wine with the oak.
Toasted barriques provide rapid oxygenation, causing the wine to mature faster but turn into a vanilla-flavored jam. And honestly, this obsolete model of hypertrophic wine (all muscles and wood) shouldn’t exist anymore.
Especially since many winemakers have demonstrated that Primitivo is a great wine for aging, aging with style and grace.
The fruit goes from being fruity to having an ethereal quality, while the notes of salt and Mediterranean scrub lend depth and refinement to the extract as a whole.
On the other hand, if it is a fruity bomb, it starts strong but has a short life.
Types of Primitivo di Manduria
The Primitivo di Manduria Riserva must be aged 24 months, with at least 9 in wood.
In addition to the dry, there is also the Primitivo Dolce Naturale DOCG, an unknown wine that, despite its colossal structure, has charm and an intriguing depth. It boasts an alcohol content of 16 degrees and no less than 50 grams per liter. It’s a great wine for relaxing with and goes well with pies and blue cheeses like Stilton and Roquefort.
History of the Primitivo di Manduria
It was once thought it arrived on the Apulian coasts with the Phoenicians or the first Greek colonists. The most recent archeological finds show that it is a Croatian vine that came with the Illyrians when they moved. But his journey did not stop after the Adriatic crossings, because the famous Californian Zinfandel is none other than the Primitivo we drink here in Italy. Of course, different climates and soils have significantly changed the American clones, but we can say it is the same vine, twins divided at birth.
Primitivo production areas
We talked about Manduria because it is the best known, but in addition to being produced in the Manduria area with a DOC, we can also find it in the province of Taranto, in Gioia del Colle with the DOC Gioia del Colle Rosso and Gioia del Colle Primitivo and scattered throughout the region.
The fruity and straightforward entry-level bottles cost 10 euros. Those of good quality are in the $15–25 range (this must be your target price), and some amazing Riserva can reach up to 40-50.
Tannins, explosive fruit, spices, salt, and structure: are all characteristics that make it one of the best wines for pairing with grilled and smoked meat dishes. Try it with paella, lamb kebabs, gnocchi with Bolognese, hamburgers, baked lasagna, truffle risotto, pasta Amatriciana.