Primitivo 2013

Italy ~ Puglia

Winemaker Notes

Primitivo, aka Zinfandel: DNA analysis shows Primitivo is genetically identical to Zinfandel.

Carole Meredith of UC Davis, the most important genetic academic in the world of wine, has confirmed Primitivo & Zinfandel have identical DNA. Primitivo and Zinfandel, however, have not been officially defined as synonymous by the TTB. We presented Dr. Meredith’s findings with the Layer Cake Primitivo label and received the first-ever Certificate of Label Approval with Primitivo and Zinfandel used as synonyms on the label, yet the TTB has still not posted them as interchangeable in the regulations.

Vineyard Notes

The fruit comes from head-trained old vines and is harvested in early September. This is truly remarkable plant material in very old vineyards, some dating to Roman times. The soils in Manduria are red, iron-rich clays with large calcareous rocks, shells and coral from ancient seabeds. We’re talking ancient, gnarled baskets hugging the ground and rocks around them, ancient chariots buried underneath, lost civilization stuff.

Tasting Notes

The Layer Cake Primitivo comes right at you with huge inky black fruit, spice and white pepper; layered and rich in the mouth with jammy black cherries, truffles, espresso and dense, creamy texture. Always in the background are hints of the old sea beds that are the Puglia terroir. This is by far the most versatile wine in the Layer Cake lineup; the big power makes it work with all kinds of meats and roasts, the soft textures and sweet ripe fruit make it one of the few red wines that works amazingly well with spicy foods. Salute!

Wine Facts

  • 100% Pure Old Vine Primitivo from Salento, the “heel of the boot” of Italy, specifically the area of Manduria.
  • The grapes are from within the Manduria Denominazione di Origine Controllata, but the DOC labeling requires 14% alcohol. We found the wine to have better balance below 14%; therefore, it falls into IGT Puglia for area designation.
  • Fermented in stainless steel to preserve the fruit character, then more concentrated lots see three to four months in two-year-old French barriques to soften the tannins.
  • Alcohol 13.5% by volume