But while the California Zin contains more youthful, fruity undertones (think blackberry and plum); the Pugliese primitivo is darker and more "liquoroso" or liquor-like in taste. Its jammy, spicy flavors run deep, like its ancient roots digging into rocky soil. Primitivos, so named because of the varietal's early ripening on the vine, have an alcohol content of 14 - 16%, making it a hearty wine - a wine most appropriately enjoyed with hearty (Pugliese) food!
Our cousin in Puglia produces his own primitivo label on his masseria - a large limestone estate named Torre Catena dating back centuries. The wine is called Volare - named after the song popularized by Domenico Modugno a native son of Polignano a Mare where our family is from. Needless to say, we are huge fans and served the wine at my sons' baptism in Puglia this summer. The party was held at Torre Catena and the wine was a huge hit (by the way, it is definitely worth checking out the above link to Torre Catena). Volare, like its name implies, soars. It is surprisingly vibrant in taste. It's the kind of wine where one sip calls for another simply for the pleasure of tasting it and feeling a well-balanced wine glide across your palate. And yet the wine is far from pretentious. It's made to be enjoyed in good company, with good food and boisterous conversation. Volare is the kind of wine that becomes a joyful anchor to an evening of camaraderie with just the right touch of sophistication. Like the song, it makes you feel good.
You'll have to stay tuned in 2013 to get your hands on a bottle. We are in the process of getting it imported. And when we do, our hope is that it will soar, and that Volare will make your taste buds fly!