Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wines I'm Drinking: Two Primitivos from Salento (June 24, 2015)

At my local Grocery Outlet today (Santa Rosa), I came across two Primitivo wines from the Salento region of Italy. They were attractively priced, so I decided to compare them. Salento, in Puglia (Apulia), is essentially the heel of the Italian boot. The region has been known for the quantity rather than the quality of its output in the past--much of which has traditionally become the base for vermouth. As in so many parts of Europe, however, legal requirements to reduce grape acreage and more modern winemaking techniques seem to be raising the overall level of quality--although Primitivo from this area has long had a reputation for being among the region's best products. So, it was with some hopefulness that I snagged these two bottles and gave them a try. Brief tasting notes follow:

2010 Duca Petraccone Salento Primitivo (Antica Vigna): Deep ruby red but with a hint of the garnet color of a mature wine. Dusty rose petals on the nose. A hint of tobacco. Raisins. But, overall, fairly closed on the nose, at least initially. Pretty nonetheless. Medium-bodied. Ripe, soft, slightly raisiny fruit flavors on the attack followed by a softer mid-palate and then a rush of acidity toward the finish. Decent length. Very soft tannins. Easy-drinking and surprisingly delicate overall. Appealing although not especially complex or deeply interesting. Both wines were disappointing. Still, probably a decent food wine--solid, but unobtrusive; in other words a wine that would not distract from good food either by being especially distinctive or by being obviously flawed. A good value at only $4.99.

2013 Caminetto Salento Primitivo: Deep ruby red, but not quite as opaque as the above wine. Earthy scents. Clay. Raisins. A hint of rose petals. Again, fairly restrained on the nose at first, but pleasant and inviting nevertheless. Sweet fruit flavors with some balancing acidity, although perhaps not quite enough. Raisiny mid-palate. Moderate length, with delicate tannins lingering. A little brighter and fresher tasting than the Duca Petraccone wine, but not as subtle. I suspect this wine might quickly tire the palate because of its up-front grapey fruitiness. Perhaps an excellent summer wine to serve cold with a splash of soda water--or as a base for Sangria. Inexpensive at $7.99, but I won't buy this one again.

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