Terra dei Trulli Pinnacoli Primitivo di Manduria 2011


Who’s familiar with Primitivo? I know what you’re thinking: “Primitivo? Like a DVR service for monkeys?” And you’re wrong to think that, because unfortunately, no such thing exists. Yet.

Primitivo is actually a wine grape, and if you’re looking for another fun fact, it’s also basically Zinfandel. I say basically because even though the two are clones of the same grape, US laws don’t allow the names to be used interchangeably. But the wines are pretty much interchangeable, so I won’t tell if you don’t.

This particular example, the Terra dei Trulli Pinnacoli Primitivo di Manduria 2011 ($15.99), is not part of the Chairman’s Selection program, but is still relatively inexpensive. It also came with a tag attached boasting a 90-point rating in Wine & Spirits, and while that sort of advertising is usually a turn off for me, I couldn’t find another Primitivo in the immediate vicinity, and well, here we are.

Despite another claim on that promo tag that the wine is “vinous rather than jammy,” (Ed note: vinous? so, like wine? really?) my thoughts upon first whiff were definitely jam-related — not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course, but if you’re going out of your way to say something isn’t a certain way, you should probably make sure that statement is true.

To its credit, however, the wine opened up nicely after a little while, adding earthier notes to the earlier burst of jammy black cherry and raspberry. On the palate, more red fruit led the attack, but undertones of licorice and black pepper bolstered the experience with the complexity I feared it would be lacking – not bad at all for a wine at this price point. Alcohol and acidity were sufficient but unobtrusive, and there were just enough tannins for balance. Well worth drinking solo, but with ribs or something similar it would have been even better.

I’ll admit I haven’t drunk very much Primitivo in the past (unless you count Zinfandel… which I guess I do, judging from my second paragraph), but this one left a good taste in my mouth. A spicy one, mostly.

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