Casa Smith Porcospino Primitivo 2016
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Distinguished by a broad, south-exposed, uniform slope and landlocked by the Columbia River to its south and Saddle Mountains to its north, the Wahluke Slope AVA of Washington holds 15% of the total vine acreage of the state and takes its name from the Native American word for “watering place.”
Incidentally the Wahluke Slope AVA has one of the hottest and driest climates of the state so irrigation is not only essential, but also allows complete grower control of vine vigor. On top of its arid and warm environment, strong summer winds blow across this broad slope and ensure both smaller leaf size and grape clusters. The result is top quality wines with great concentration, phenolic ripeness, body and depth of flavor.
Vineyards cover the AVA from 425 to 1,480 feet along the slope. Its deep soils of wind-blown alluvium and sand with a depth, on average, of more than 5 feet along the continuous grade allow optimal drainage for the vines.
Merlots are rich in sweet, ripe cherry, red currant, raspberry and cocoa. Syrahs tend to express black and blue fruit along with savory notes. Wahluke Cabernets are rich in stewed red and black berries.
Responsible for inky, brambly, and ripe fruit driven wines, Primitivo bears more than a passing resemblance to Zinfandel—and there’s a very good reason for this. The two varieties are actually one and the same and have a Croatian origin. Primitivo was brought to Italy from Croatia in the late 1800s and became an important variety in the hot, dry, southern region of Puglia. Here it was named from the Latin word, primativus, meaning "first to ripen."
In the Glass
The flavors of Primitivo are, naturally, very similar to those of Zinfandel, but often it is somewhat leaner, and more structured and earthy. Typical characteristics include ripe berry fruit, plum, black pepper, fresh earth and sweet baking spice.
Primitivo pairs best with full-flavored, hearty meat dishes like roasted lamb, beef brisket, hamburgers, meatballs with Moroccan seasonings, beef fajitas or anything barbecued.
The link between Primitivo and Zinfandel is quite a recent discovery. While there was some speculation that they were related, it wasn't until 1994 when grape geneticists at UC Davis identified them as identical. The grape goes by the name of Tribidrag in Croatia and is a parent of the modern Croatian variety, Plavac Mali.