Perrini Primitivo 2021
Blend: 100% Primitivo
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
In the southernmost part of the heel of the "Italian boot," otherwise known as the Salento Peninsula of the Puglia region, the Perrini family has been growing grapes and making wine for generations. For many years, most of their fruit was sold off to négociants, as the means and finances to estate-bottle were prohibitive. Current generation Vito and his sister Mila Perrini set about changing that in the 1990's, building an underground cellar and converting their fifty hectares to certified-organic viticulture--neither of these steps being the norm for a bulk-production-oriented region accustomed to heavy-handed, high-alcohol red wines. Their vines average 30-35 years of age at this point, spread amongst several zones in the hills around Castellaneta near Taranto on a mix of sand, limestone and clay soils. The vineyards are plowed in the spring, and yields are kept to around 55hl/ha, modest for the region and the warm, easy-ripening climate. Most unusual for Puglia are an underground cellar; manual harvest; and natural yeast fermentation. Perrini wines are remarkably balanced, light-handed and savory compared to the usual Puglian fare, especially at their very modest price level.
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.
Loved for its inky, brambly, fruit-driven wines, the Primitivo grape actually has Croatian origin. Primitivo landed in Italy 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." Somm Secret—No one knew Primitivo and Zinfandel were the same until 1994 when DNA profiling at UC Davis finally revealed the link. The grape goes by the name of Tribidrag in Croatia and is a parent to Plavac Mali.