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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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  • Ognissole Primitivo di Manduria 2002
    Primitivo from Italy
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    • A. Mano Puglia Primitivo 2003
      Primitivo from Italy
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      • Soleto Primitivo 2010
        Primitivo from Italy
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        • Pinnacoli Primitivo 2011
          Primitivo from Puglia, Italy
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          • Leone de Castris Primitivo di Manduria Villa Santera 2009
            Primitivo from Italy
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          • Vinosia Salento Primitivo 2007
            Primitivo from Italy
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          • A. Mano Puglia Primitivo 2000
            Primitivo from Italy
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            • ST87
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          • Castello Monaci Primitivo Piluna 2007
            Primitivo from Italy
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            • Masseria Surani Heracles Primitivo 2013
              Primitivo from Italy
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              • Terrale Primitivo 2001
                Primitivo from Italy
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                • Matane Primitivo Di Manduria Il Matane 2007
                  Primitivo from Italy
                  • WS90
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                • Tormaresca Torcicoda Primitivo 2010
                  Primitivo from Italy
                  • WS90
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                • Ognissole Primitivo di Manduria 2005
                  Primitivo from Italy
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                  • Uvaggio Primitivo 2009
                    Primitivo from California
                    • WE92
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                  • Matane Primitivo Puglia 2013
                    Primitivo from Italy
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                    • Feudi di San Gregorio Primitivo 2013
                      Primitivo from Italy
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                      • Fiddletown Primitivo 2012
                        Primitivo from Sierra Foothills, California
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                        • Layer Cake Primitivo aka Zinfandel 2007
                          Primitivo from Italy
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                          • Antica Masseria Primitivo di Manduria 2013
                            Primitivo from Puglia, Italy
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                          • Feudo di Santa Croce Primitivo di Manduria LXXIV 2013
                            Primitivo from Italy
                            • WS91
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                          • Castello Monaci Piluna Primitivo 2015
                            Primitivo from Puglia, Italy
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                            • Tormaresca Torcicoda Primitivo 2008
                              Primitivo from Italy
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                            • Jeff Runquist R Primitivo 2014
                              Primitivo from Amador, Sierra Foothills, California
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                              • Tormaresca Torcicoda Primitivo 2009
                                Primitivo from Italy
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                              • A. Mano Puglia Primitivo Prima-Mano 2000
                                Primitivo from Italy
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