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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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19 Items
  • CasaSmith Porcospino Primitivo 2016
    Primitivo from Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley, Washington
    • JD92
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  • Uvaggio Primitivo 2015
    Primitivo from Lodi, California
    • WE92
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    Currently Unavailable $25.99
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  • Masseria Surani Heracles Primitivo 2013
    Primitivo from Italy
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    • La Fiera Primitivo Salento 2016
      Primitivo from Veneto, Italy
        4.0 1 Ratings
        Currently Unavailable $7.99
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      • Angel Vine Primitivo 2013
        Primitivo from Columbia Valley, Washington
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        • Castello Monaci Piluna Primitivo 2016
          Primitivo from Puglia, Italy
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            Currently Unavailable $14.99
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          • Andis Primitivo 2014
            Primitivo from Amador, Sierra Foothills, California
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            • Layer Cake Primitivo aka Zinfandel 2015
              Primitivo from Italy
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              • Castello Monaci Artas Primitivo 2015
                Primitivo from Puglia, Italy
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                  Currently Unavailable $38.99
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                • Hendry Block 24 Primitivo 2013
                  Primitivo from Napa Valley, California
                    4.6 4 Ratings
                    Currently Unavailable $35.99
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                  • Jeff Runquist R Primitivo 2016
                    Primitivo from Amador, Sierra Foothills, California
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                    • Feudi di San Gregorio Primitivo 2012
                      Primitivo from Italy
                        3.6 6 Ratings
                        Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                      • Botromagno Primitivo 2015
                        Primitivo from Italy
                          3.5 1 Ratings
                          Currently Unavailable $17.99
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                        • Cantele Primitivo 2015
                          Primitivo from Italy
                            3.2 3 Ratings
                            Currently Unavailable $12.99
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                          • Jacuzzi Primitivo 2016
                            Primitivo from Lake County, North Coast, California
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                            • Li Veli Orion Primitivo 2016
                              Primitivo from Puglia, Italy
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                              • Jacuzzi Primitivo 2015
                                Primitivo from Lake County, North Coast, California
                                  3.2 3 Ratings
                                  Currently Unavailable $18.99
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                                • Hendry Block 24 Primitivo 2015
                                  Primitivo from Napa Valley, California
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                                  • Matane Primitivo Di Manduria Il Matane 2015
                                    Primitivo from Italy
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