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Cantele Primitivo 2008

Primitivo from Italy
  • RP87
13% ABV
  • W&S88
  • RP89
  • W&S88
  • W&S90
  • WE90
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13% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The color is a lively ruby red with delicate garnet reflections.
On the nose, the bouquet is mineraly with undertones of cherries and plums; the finish is of flowers and spices.
The palate expresses soft tannins, good acidity and the soft mouthfeel which are characteristics of the bounty of Primitivo which was once a strong and rustic wine and is now one of elegance and nobility. Serve this wine with pasta and meat sauce, red meats including lamb. Ideal partner for cheese.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 87
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Cantele's 2008 Primitivo offers up dark red fruit, licorice, leather and dark plums. There isn't a ton of varietal character, but at this price point that is splitting hairs, as the wine’s balance is excellent. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2012.
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Cantele

Cantele

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Cantele, Italy
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This winery was founded in 1979 by Giovanni Cantele and his two sons Augusto and Domenico, and is the result of ten years experience in the wine business in the Salentino area. Cantele's latest investments have served to increase their presence in the DOC zone of Salice Salentino in the commune of Guagnano, where they grow the local Negroamaro, Malvasia Nera and Primitivo varieties.

Named “Oenotria” by the ancient Greeks for its abundance of grapevines, Italy has always had a culture that is virtually inextricable from wine. Wine grapes are grown just about everywhere throughout the country—a long and narrow boot-shaped peninsula extending into the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. The defining geographical feature of the country is the Apennine Mountain range, extending from Liguria in the north to Calabria in the south. The island of Sicily nearly grazes the toe of Italy’s boot, while Sardinia lies to the country’s west. Climate varies significantly throughout the country, with temperature being somewhat more dependent on elevation than latitude, though it is safe to generalize that the south is warmer. Much of the highest quality viticulture takes place on gently rolling, picturesque hillsides.

Italy boasts more indigenous varieties than any other country—between 500 and 800, depending on whom you ask—and most wine production relies upon these native grapes. In some regions, international varieties have worked their way in, but their use is declining in popularity, especially as younger growers begun to take interest in rediscovering forgotten local specialties. Sangiovese is the most widely planted variety in the country, reaching its greatest potential in parts of Tuscany. Nebbiolo is the prized grape of Piedmont in the northwest, producing singular, complex and age-worthy wines. Other important varieties include Montepulciano, Trebbiano, Barbera, Nero d’Avola and of course, Pinot Grigio.

Primitivo

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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.

SOU55269_2008 Item# 107801