Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The Mandurian Candidate - Primitivo

Manduria is a town in the region of Apulia, the heel of Italy's "boot." The warm climate brings the best out of the Primitivo grape, known in the province of Taranto as Primitivo di Manduria. In the US, particularly California, the grape grows under the name of Zinfandel. In Manduria, they like to think of the Puglia Primitivos as a pyramid, with the Primitivo di Manduria DOC at the top.

Mottura Vini Primitivo di Manduria Stilio 2019

This wine was made from grapes that were partially dried, reducing the water content by a quarter or so and leaving a much more concentrated flavor. Winemaker Teodosio D'Apolito works the magic with the fruit from the Mottura family vineyards. Aging took place over six months in French oak barrels, with another three months in the bottle. Alcohol hits 14.5% abv

This medium-dark wine has a nose of smoke, earth and pepper, on top of brambly red fruit. The palate is savory and supple, with red currant, coffee notes and a raspberry tartness. There is also a mocha sense which comes through after a bit of time in the glass. The finish is quite lengthy, and quite a joy to savor.  

Tenuta Giustini Primitivo di Manduria Acinorè

The vineyards of 50-year-old bush vines were passed down through generations, and in 2006 the Giustini family started making wine from their grapes.  That's an extremely short duration, especially by European standards, but their decision to make wine has shown to be a good one.  The winemaking is done by Giuseppe and Salvatore Papadopoli.  Aging happened over six months time in small French oak barrels with another couple of months in the bottle.  Alcohol is quite high, normal for the wines of the region, at 15% abv.  

This wine's nose is a perfumed dream, all dark red fruit with a gorgeous layer of spice and herbs. After being open for awhile, smoke really takes over. The palate brings black cherry to the forefront on a wave of sage and a refreshing acidity. Pair it with some meatballs, now.  

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