2008 Vita Italia Primitivo di Manduria DOC

Mission Codename: The Well and the Almond Tree

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Search the Puglia region for an exceptional Primitivo

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Viti Italia

Wine Subject: 2008 Primitivo di Manduria DOC

Winemaker: Vincenzo Vita


Primitivo, a native grape of southern Italy can trace its earliest heritage back to ancient Greece. Genetically, it is nearly identical to Zinfandel with Zin having the identical DNA as the clone of Primitivo found in and around Puglia Italy. Primitivo gets its name from the monks who tended this varietal as they noticed it was one of the first to ripen amongst their vines. Known for its rich and vibrant color, aromas and flavors of zesty cherry and spice, Primitivo is best enjoyed young (within five or so years of bottling), however some examples can and do improve with cellaring as well.

Today’s selection is from the Manduria region in Puglia, the heel of the boot of Italy. The wines of Manduria range from dry to semi-sweet and even some the wines are fortified. The symbol of the city is a well with an almond tree growing from the center, originally documented by the Roman author Pliny the Elder in his manuscript Naturalis Historia,

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark but clear purple and garnet with slightly lighter garnet edges. When swirled, widely spaced slow fat legs cling to the edge of the glass before descending to the wine below.

Smell – Bright and youthful with spiced tangy red fruit including zesty cherry, tart raspberry and nearly ripe plum blend with earthy and oaky notes. A touch of sweet spice, floral violets and smokey sweet tobacco also emerge as the wine opens.

Feel – Tangy and tart, this medium-to-full bodied wine has vibrant acidity that lingers into the finish and youthful but finely grained tannins and a touch of minerality.

Taste – Zesty red cherry, tart raspberry and under-ripe plum blend with sweet spice, pepper and oak notes. The floral violets and hints of anise and tobacco found on the nose also linger on the palate.

Finish – The vibrant acidity and youthful tannins grasp the zesty red cherry and plum as the other flavors fade.

Conclusion – If you’re looking for a food friendly go to wine, then the Gold Medal 2008 Vita Italia Primitivo di Manduria DOC is a sure winner. Great acidity that greets you upon the first sip and lingers long into the finish frames the tangy and zesty red cherry aromas and flavors. Sweet spice, floral violets, smokey tobacco hints and oak adds complexity but without masking the great fruit. Enjoy tonight with pasta, pizza or even steak tips after letting it open or cellar for 3-5 years.

Mission Report:

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The Manduria region in Puglia where the grapes for this wine are grown can be seen in this satellite photo.

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