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Primitivo

Responsible for inky, brambly, and ripe-fruited wines...

Responsible for inky, brambly, and ripe-fruited wines, Primitivo bears more than a passing resemblance to Zinfandel—and there’s a very good reason for this. Depending on whom you ask, the two varieties are either one and the same, or extremely similar clones of a third variety—the Croatian Tribidrag. Primitivo was brought to Italy from Croatia in the late 1800s and became an important variety in the hot, dry region of Puglia in the country’s south. Primitivo is sometimes labeled as Zinfandel for export.

In the Glass

The flavors of Primitivo are, naturally, very similar to those of Zinfandel, but often it is somewhat earthier, leaner, and more structured, with lower alcohol. Typical characteristics include ripe berry fruit, plum, black pepper, fresh earth, and sweet baking spice.

Perfect Pairings

Primitivo pairs best with full-flavored, hearty meat dishes like roasted lamb, beef brisket, hamburgers, or anything barbecued. Alcohol levels tend to be lower than those of Zinfandel, which means it can pair with slightly spicy cuisine like Indian curries, meatballs with Moroccan seasonings, or beef fajitas.

Sommelier Secret

The link between Primitivo and Zinfandel is quite a recent discovery. The two were believed to be siblings until 2001, when grape geneticists at UC Davis identified them as identical. While European producers are allowed to use the two names interchangeably, the US does not yet permit this.

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    Tormaresca Torcicoda Primitivo 2014
    Primitivo from Italy
    • JS91
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    Cantele Primitivo 2015
    Primitivo from Italy
      3.4 5 Ratings
      Currently Unavailable $12.99
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      CasaSmith Porcospino Primitivo 2016
      Primitivo from Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, Washington
      • JD92
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      Sobon Estate Rezerve Primitivo 2015
      Primitivo from Amador, Sierra Foothills, California
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        Currently Unavailable $24.99
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        Layer Cake Primitivo aka Zinfandel 2015
        Primitivo from Italy
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          Matane Primitivo Di Manduria Il Matane 2015
          Primitivo from Italy
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            La Fiera Primitivo Salento 2016
            Primitivo from Veneto, Italy
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              Li Veli Orion Primitivo 2016
              Primitivo from Puglia, Italy
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                Feudi di San Gregorio Primitivo 2012
                Primitivo from Italy
                  3.6 9 Ratings
                  Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                  Botromagno Primitivo 2015
                  Primitivo from Italy
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                    Angel Vine Primitivo 2013
                    Primitivo from Columbia Valley, Washington
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                      Uvaggio Primitivo 2015
                      Primitivo from Lodi, California
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                      Botromagno Primitivo 2016
                      Primitivo from Italy
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                        Jacuzzi Primitivo 2016
                        Primitivo from Lake County, North Coast, California
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                          Jacuzzi Primitivo 2015
                          Primitivo from Lake County, North Coast, California
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                            Castello Monaci Piluna Primitivo 2016
                            Primitivo from Puglia, Italy
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                              Andis Primitivo 2014
                              Primitivo from Amador, Sierra Foothills, California
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                                Hendry Block 24 Primitivo 2013
                                Primitivo from Napa Valley, California
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                                  Hendry Block 24 Primitivo 2015
                                  Primitivo from Napa Valley, California
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                                    Castello Monaci Artas Primitivo 2015
                                    Primitivo from Puglia, Italy
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                                      Castello Monaci Piluna Primitivo 2015
                                      Primitivo from Puglia, Italy
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                                        Leone de Castris Primitivo Rosso Salento Villa Santera 2016
                                        Primitivo from Puglia, Italy
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                                          Masseria Surani Heracles Primitivo 2013
                                          Primitivo from Italy
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