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Castello Monaci Artas Primitivo 2013

Primitivo from Puglia, Italy
  • RP91
  • WS90
16.5% ABV
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16.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The 2013 Castello Monaci Artas is explosively rich and layered with ripe, sun-drenched berry fruit, black pepper spice and smoky oak.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2013 Primitivo Artas opens to a dark garnet color and thick concentration. The wine presents a mildly sweet bouquet with a generous supply of ripe fruit, dried cherry and blackberry preserves. Artas is chewy and rich in terms of texture with lingering tones of tobacco and jammy fruit on the close. In true Primitivo style, the finish is sticky and sweet. Heads up on the alcohol: the wine's technical sheets put it at a whopping 16.5%.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
The refined tannins are well-meshed with fresh acidity and a subtle streak of minerality in this harmonious, medium-bodied red. The plush palate offers sappy cherry, dried marjoram, tea rose and orange peel notes. Drink now through 2023.
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Castello Monaci

Castello Monaci

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Castello Monaci, Puglia, Italy
Image of winery
Castello Monaci has a big “M,” as a symbol. It is a new brand which stands for the union of the work of man with that of the sun. More than the sum of two parts, Castello Monaci is a unique, new whole. Not far from the town and the sea, on the road from Lecce to Taranto, at the gates of Salice Salentino surrounded by centuries-old vegetation, are located 150 hectares: the vineyards of Castello Monaci. It is a place where modernity and tradition meet.

The choice of grape varieties is a combination of local viticultural tradition–indigenous Negroamaro, Primitivo and Malvasia Nera–with scientific vineyard management through a careful selection of clones and root stocks. The tufa (‘rocks’) of local soils contribute structure to the wine, aid in drainage for the vines, and reflect the light, helping the sun’s work for the vines. Dug out of subterranean rock, the geometric-shaped cellar houses 1,000 barriques and modern temperature-controlled systems that allow small parcels of grapes to be vinified separately.

Well-suited to the production of concentrated, fruity and spicy red varieties, Puglia is one of Italy’s warmest, most southerly regions. Its entire eastern side is one long coastline bordering the Adriatic Sea. About half way down, the region becomes the Salento Peninsula. This peninsula, bordered by water on three sides, receives moist, nighttime, sea breezes that bring a welcome cooling effect to the region, where little rain creates a challenging environment for its vines. In fact, the region is named for the Italian expression, “a pluvia,” meaning “lack of rain.”

Puglia’s Mediterranean climate and iron-rich, calcareous soils support the indigenous Primitivo, Negroamaro and Nero di Troia. Primitivo produces an inky, spicy, brambly and ripe red wine whose best expression comes from Manduria. Nero di Troia produces tannic, rustic reds from Castel del Monte DOC while Negroamaro, typically blended with Malvasia nera, plays a large part in may blends made throughout the peninsula.

Puglia produces a small amount of white wines as well, predominantly made of the fruity, Trebbiano Toscano, or light, Bombino bianco grapes.

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.

WLD6890435_2013 Item# 169844