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Wine Review: Villa Santera Primitivo di Manduria 2006

Wine Review: Villa Santera Primitivo di Manduria 2006 ($18)

You may not have tried a Primitivo di Manduria before, but chances are you’ve tasted something very similar. That’s because the Primitivo grape, grown primarily in the southern Italian province of Puglia, is related to red Zinfandel. Despite its ancient-sounding name, Primitivo is relatively new to the region. The term Primitivo relates to the fact that the grape is known for ripening early – it’s not a “primitive” grape.

Interestingly, both Primitivo and Zinfandel appear to share a common origin in an almost-extinct, impossible-to-pronounce (for me, anyway) Croatian grape called Crljenak Kaštelanski. Researchers say this grape may have been introduced to Puglia in the late 1600s by some Dalmatian people who migrated to Italy. The question of how Zinfandel ended up in America remains a mystery.

This week’s wine pick is the Villa Santera Primitivo di Manduria 2006 ($18). There was definitely a Zinfandel quality about it, but it also had some other interesting things going on. On the nose, chocolate truffles mingled with strawberries and damp earth. The palette surprised me because it was so different from the aroma. I tasted black pepper, rosemary, bitter chocolate, fig and dark fruit. It was a little rough around the edges, but still a great value. I guess we can thank the Dalmatians for this one.

Quaffability Rating: 87





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“Wine Review: Villa Santera Primitivo di Manduria 2006”