Primitivo is a centuries old varietal grown mainly in Apulia and Campania, which gives rise to medium-bodied or robust red wines.
Zinfandel is a varietal that has been cultivated in North America for over 150 years and is considered one of the most representative grapes of America. It produces excellent robust red wines and sweet rosé wines.
For years, the similarities between the wines obtained from Primitivo and Zinfandel were observed, until in the 1990s a study on the DNA of the two grape varieties conducted in California showed that they are exactly the same grape. The traces of the movements of this varietal over the centuries have been lost, but some believe that it was originally from Croatia, then brought to Apulia and finally to North America.
This grape variety is characterized by a fruity aroma and a high sugar residue that makes it suitable for medium-bodied and lighter wines, as well as for structured wines with a high alcohol content.
The dominant aromas are those of berries (in particular blueberries, currants and strawberries), of delicate spicy notes (black pepper, cinnamon, mushroom) and in addition, slight hints of aromatic herbs.
In wines made from grapes grown in warmer climates, the aromas of fresh berries are transformed into those of raisins, berry jam and caramel. This is due to various odorous molecules including furaneaol, present in high quantities in this grape variety: furaneol at low concentrations recalls strawberry, while at high concentrations it evolves towards caramel and toasted notes. If the wines are barrel aged, hints of tobacco, vanilla and licorice are added to the wine's bouquet.
This varietal can give rise to wines of the highest quality. Particularly famous are the Primitivos of Manduria and the Zinfandels of Napa Valley.
Discover TasterPlace Red Wine Aromas to train yourself to recognize the most characteristic scents of Primitivo. Click here.