Grifone Primitivo provides an extremely affordable introduction to Italian Zinfandel, that is Primitivo. Genetically the same, Zin and Primitivo are capable of displaying their own unique place in the wine world. Specifically, this one hails from the Primitivo di Manduria region with IGT recognition from Puglia.
Although their history is convoluted, and they also share an identical DNA sequence with a Croatian grape, Primitivo often is a smaller grape with less sugar content leading to, generally, a lower alcohol content in the final wine than one would find in a Zinfandel. This particular Primitivo has 13% ABV with a residual sugar level of 2.9g/L. A California Zin though will generally have a comparable residual sugar level, but the alcohol level will often be above 15% as the grape started with a higher sugar content, and thus higher alcohol as the sugar is transformed during fermentation.
Although the nose on this Primitivo is rather mute, it is racy and shall I say jubilant in the mouth, especially for $3.99. Flavors of raspberry and cherry move to fennel, rhubarb, and a touch of spice, while the acidity of the wine begs to be pared with pasta and a red sauce built of hot Italian sausage.
For the price and considering there was no oak treatment, the wine provides surprising tannins.
Not an overwhelming wine, but a great and enjoyable everyday drink to go with dinner, although it is more than fine on its own.