A Brief History of Primitivo
Primitivo is a dark skinned grape originally from Croatia which then migrated to Puglia in Southern Italy. It is intensely flavored and deep in color. It is common for this varietal to have a “certain bitterness” and is recommended to enjoy with food. Primitivo and Zinfandel are essentially the same grape which was originally called Tribidrad. When it migrated to the USA in the early 1800’s it was called Zinfandel. At that time is was considered our “national grape”. Currently 97% of the world’s production of Primitivo comes from Italy. In Italy, it is generally drier than the American Zinfandel’s especially from Lodi and Amador areas.
Tonight’s wine came from Gossamer Cellars in Murphy’s, California in the lower Sierra foothills. Gossamer’s owners, Gary and Sue Grant are unique in the wine making endeavors. Gary has always wanted to make every wine in the De Long Grape Varietal Table. This unique approach is wide rather than deep, which provides the wine consumer with just about everything to taste and imagine. Just a quick listing of some of the wines he has produced are Torrontes, Nebbiolo, Teroldego, Negroamaro, Alicante, Treixadura, Pinotage, Tannat and the list goes on. Gary subscribes to the saying proudly displayed in his quaint tasting room “Adventure may hurt you, but monotony will kill you”- Anonymous
My wife was preparing a Bolognese sauce from scratch and the smell brought us right back to Italy with flavors wafting through the house. This Primitivo was pulled from the cellar, knowing it would play well with the meal. On the eyes, the deep color and medium viscosity beckoned the first sip. On the nose, dark fruit, an earthy quality reigned supreme. Once on the palate, plum, raspberry, vanilla pipe tobacco and tart cranberries rose up to greet your taste buds. The finish was strong with structure, earthiness and dark fruits of blackberry and black cherries with a hint of pepper spiciness, coupled with a slight tartness.
The Food & Wine Pairing
As previously mentioned, the Bolognese sauce was simmering for hours and filling the house with a delicious aroma. The sauce included olive oil, diced bacon, chopped onions, chopped carrot, chopped celery, minced cloves of garlic, fresh thyme, ground veal, ground pork, red wine, bay leaves and tomato puree. It was served over a bed of Bucatini pasta and topped with fresh Parmesan cheese. The wine and pasta were absolutely simpatico!
I never tire of visiting Gossamer Cellars to see what new wine Gary has produced and Sue is serving to taste!