A Wine Lover's Review Of a $10 Wine - An Apulia, Italy Primitivo

You may not have heard of the Italian red grape called Primitivo, but I'll bet you are familiar with its American cousin Zinfandel. Actually some experts say that the word cousin is insufficient to express their close relationship. Whatever the connection, Primitivo doesn't reach the heights of fine Zinfandels. The southern Italian region of Puglia, also called Apulia, is one of the best places for Primitivo wines. The producer Casa Vinicola Botter & C has been in business since 1928. The company website provides no information on this specific wine. The companion wine is a frizzante (fizzy) sweet red wine from same region of Italy costing almost twice as much.
Wine Reviewed Ogio Puglia Indicazione Geografica Tipica Primitivo 2010 13 % alcohol about $9.
Let's start by quoting the marketing materials. "Tasting Note: Medium ruby color; aromas of earth, ripe black cherry, licorice and spice; dry, medium-bodied, black fruit and spice flavors with soft tannins. Serving Suggestion: Serve with pasta and meat sauce." And now for my review.
At the first sips this wine was dark and oaky. It tasted of black cherries and offered good balance. My initial meal centered on a spicy homemade roasted chicken leg. Zinnie's cousin was long and fruity, and I tasted some smoke. When this wine encountered the side dish of leeks sautéed in olive oil its acidity became harsher, but it remained round. In the face of fruit juice candy for dessert this libation retained its oaken character.
The next meal consisted of slow cooked beef ribs and potatoes. In response the Primitivo was long, round, and balanced with a touch of tobacco and oak. Those potatoes increased the drink's acidity. So did green beans in tomato sauce; now our Italian's acidity was somewhat harsh. Dousing the meat with Louisiana hot sauce didn't affect the wine, and believe me, I didn't stint on the condiment.
My final meal was a box of Baked Ziti Siciliano that I covered with grated Parmesan cheese. The Primitivo responded with soft tannins and acidity and yet I felt I dealing with a rustic wine. Once again it was long. Ice cream and wine tends not to be a marriage made in heaven. Häagen-Dazs Rocky Road (chocolate with roasted almonds and marshmallow swirls) almost wiped out this liquid.
Final verdict. I liked this wine and would definitely buy it again. But the producer has several other offerings in this easy to deal with price range and I'll be trying them first.
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Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but would rather just drink fine Italian, French, or other wine, accompanied by the right foods and people. He teaches at an Ontario French-language community college. Among his many web sites he is particularly proud of his Italian travel site with a special focus on regional food and wine at www.travelitalytravel.com. Check out his global wine website at www.theworldwidewine.com with his weekly column reviewing $10 wines and many other sections.

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