“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.”
“Medium bright red with a garnet rim. Ripe red cherry in typical Primitivo style but also hints of hibiscus tea and sweet spices. Then slightly oak-dominated on the palate with the red fruit trying to break through from underneath the oaky veneer on the medium-long finish. Ages six months in barriques; no new oak, but still this seemed too tannic to me.”
“This iconic Primitivo from winemaker Gianfranco Fino delivers in its dense aromas of spiced cranberry, blackberry, violets and tilled earth. There’s weight and intensity to the palate in all aspects, from the punchy, juicy berry and dark plum flavors to the racing acidity and bracing tannins. Time in the cellar to soften the sharp edges will reward with the already developing complexities.”
“Rich and sappy, offering juicy flavors of blackberry and boysenberry coulis, dried thyme, star anise and mandarin orange peel. This is medium-to-full-bodied and tightly knit, with sleek, sculpted tannins firming the creamy finish.”
“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.