“The Cantele 2016 Primitivo offers a pure and faithful interpretation of this hearty red grape from the deep south of Italy. The wine opens to a dark and seriously concentrated appearance with plump black fruit aromas of prune, plum and dried blackberry. There is a naturally spicy and smoky quality as well, with light hints of mesquite and mahogany. For a Salento wine, the alcohol is low at 13.5% and this goes a long way to underline the natural and carefree personality you get here. Like any other easy-treading, smoky Zinfandel, this Southern belle would do well with a rack of baby back pork ribs – Memphis style, y’all.”
“The Gianfranco Fino 2013 Primitivo di Manduria Riserva ES is stratospheric in its opulence and its intensity. It's hard to wrap one's head around a wine of this exaggerated exuberance, but I must warn readers: this wine is not for everyone (nor is it for the faint of heart). The explosive bouquet presents deep layers of prune, midnight black fruit and inky berry nuances. The mouthfeel is thick and richly extracted with jammy layers that are fueled by the evident residual sugar. Consider this: the alcohol is reported at a whopping 17.5%, but you'd hardly know it because it is so well padded by the thickness of the surrounding fruit. A dark layer of sediment appears at the bottom of your glass. If you could make wine out of marmalade, it would come out something like this. It's not an everyday drinking choice, but it is exceptional in terms of its uniqueness and hard-core personality. Yes, this is a controversial bottle, but it is absolutely unforgettable.”
Here's a great red wine to pair with juicy burgers or succulent pork chops. The 2015 Primitivo di Manduria Villa Santera shows its own level of ripeness and tenderness to pair with those meats. It offers great value and presents the soft and seductive side of Primitivo. The alcohol is a bit high but it is successfully folded into the rich plushness and sweetness of the fruit. Black cherry and robust blackberry are backed by allspice and crushed clove. There is a point of astringency on the close that gives the wine enough structure to partner with grilled meat dishes.
“Slightly rough on the nose, the 2013 Primitivo di Manduria Villa Santera shows an untamed side with wet earth, leather, back fruit and licorice. The wine wraps thickly over the palate, imparting layers of bold spice and jammy fruit along the way. A vein of plush sweetness adds momentum to the palate and the wine ends with thick tones of dense fruit and soft richness.”
“Bruno Vespa's 2013 Primitivo Il Rosso dei Vespa represents a solid first effort. This is a powerful wine with 15.5% alcohol that definitely leaves its mark. That considerable caliber of intensity continues to the bouquet where the wine presents an aromatic medley of cherry liqueur, dried blackberry, rum cake, licorice and cola. Soft tannins are wrapped within the dark fleshiness of the wine. A touch of chewy sweetness is also characteristic of Primitivo. The wine shows good balance, although that high alcohol does stick out.”
“The 2012 Primitivo di Manduria Raccontami is a little awkward on first nose, but it fleshes out nicely as the wine takes on air in the glass. There's a distinct nuttiness on the bouquet that resembles chestnut or hazelnut. It is backed by bright Maraschino cherry, blackberry preserves, licorice, grilled herb and blackened road tar. This is a wine of enormous intensity, and big alcohol that is recorded as 16% on the back label. You feel every bit of that Southern Italian heat and there is still a good amount of sweetness leftover. Raccontami shows firm tannins and dry astringency that comes as a surprise. The wine is enduring, powerful and persistent.”
“The 2011 Primitivo di Manduria Villa Santera is very pretty. Sweet dark cherries, plums, spices, leather and licorice all come alive in the glass. The 2011 captures the essence of Primitivo from this southern part of Puglia. Hints of leather and tobacco add complexity on the finish. The Primitivo di Manduria is the best wine in the estate’s range. I can’t see any reason why the rest of the wines in this extensive lineup can’t be of the same level, if not even higher.”
The 2009 Primitivo di Manduria Villa Santera is a joyous red bursting with varietal character. Dark fruit, licorice, clovers and flowers emerge with lovely inner sweetness, adding complexity to the dense, expressive fruit.
<p>The 2007 Black St. Peters Zinfandel was sourced from a single estate vineyard. Dark ruby-colored, it has serious Zinfandel varietal character with a briery bouquet, velvety black fruit flavors, and excellent balance. Drink it over the next 4-5 years.</p>