Primitivo Wine Pairing: Flavors & Top Bottles To Try

Primitivo wine pairing is simple when you know a few simple food and cheese pairings. American wine enthusiasts sometimes compare this wine to Zinfandel, but it tastes quite different. To set the stage, let’s look at the flavor profile of these fantastic wines and where they come from.

Primitivo Wine Pairing
Red wine Primitivo with appetizers on gray background. Traditional alcohol drinks. Top view, flat lay, copy space

What Does Primitivo Taste Like?

This red Italian wine is known for its high alcohol, tannin, and intense flavors. This wine’s flavor is often compared to another grape. That’s why I wrote a guide comparing Primitivo vs Zinfandel. Let’s look at a few bottles to explore this wine’s rich flavors fully.

Varvaglione Papale Linea Oro Primitivo di Manduria

This Puglian wine has a 14.5% alcohol level. The wine has a pleasing combination of aromas of cherries and black fruit notes such as plum and blackberry. Reviewers comment that this is a fruity wine with spicy notes and no aftertaste.  

Cantine San Marzano 60 Sessantanni Old Vines Primitivo di Manduria

This Italian wine offers excellent value. Priced at $33 per bottle, the 2017 and 2018 vintage has multiple awards, including Gold at the Berlin Wine Trophy and Gold at the Vinarium International Wine Contest. The wine offers notes of cherry and herbs, supported by acidity and tannins.

Varvaglione Papale Linea Oro Primitivo di Manduria

A family wine producer in the Puglia wine region produces this wine. These quality wines have earned several awards in Berlin, China, and other venues. With an average price of $33 per bottle, the wine is relatively affordable. The wine’s fresh acidity is balanced by black plum and toasted spices.

Cantine Due Palme ‘Pillastro’ Primitivo Puglia IGT

This Puglian wine is an excellent affordable wine option that typically sells for less than $20 in the US. The full-bodied, dry wine has a 13.5% alcohol content. Past vintages –2010, 2012, and 2014 – have won awards at the International Wine Challenge and the International Wine & Spirit Competition. The Cantine Due Palme winery is relatively new by European standards – it was established in 1939.

Schola Sarmenti Diciotto Salento Rosso IGT

Priced at $68 per bottle, pick up this bottle when ready to try a special Primitivo wine. The wine offers a ripe fruit quality, including jammed berries. Oak notes are strong and help the wine have a long finish.

Attanasio Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale DOCG

Do you want a Primitivo wine pairing for your dessert course? This dessert wine is a great choice. Expect to enjoy pepper notes and blackcurrant notes. Spicy qualities balance the wine’s sweetness. It’s even considered a good pairing for chocolate. Combining wine and chocolate can be tricky, so check out my wine chocolate pairing guide.

Where Is Primitivo Produced?

This popular grape variety is primarily produced in Italy. Specifically, the wine is grown in Puglia, an Italian region located in the southern “boot” part of Italy. The grape variety is thought to have originated in Croatia many centuries ago. The Croatian grape has acquired a new identity as Primitivo in Italy and the USA. Using DNA analysis, wine experts have provided the link between the Italian and Croatian grapes.

 About two hundred years ago, this grape variety (along with Italian food!) was introduced into the United States. The versatile grape variety is now known as zinfandel grapes which make zinfandel wines.

Primitivo Dessert Wine

Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale is a naturally sweet dessert wine. Traditionally made in the Puglia wine region, this wine is made sweet, usually by a simple natural method. The wine grapes are left on the vine for an extended period. These wines are somewhat rare and expensive because they require specific weather conditions.

Primitivo Wine Pairing Ideas

Typically, this wine grape produces wine that pairs well with hearty dishes. If you’re eating a light salad, pick a white wine like Pinot Bianco or Pinot Grigio. Primitivo is a different story – heavier meals, including meat dishes, tend to work better. In addition, the wine is also balanced by oaky notes such as vanilla and chocolate. In

Lamb Dishes

A roasted lamb dish is a classic pairing for Primitivo wine. Make sure you pick up quality wines from the Puglia wine region when you have lamb next time.

Italian Dishes

A classic wine guide tip is to go local in your food pairing. So ask yourself, what foods were on dinner tables in southern Italy when Primitivo was served? These beautiful wines were typically served with meals like tomato-based dishes, including pizza.

Vegetarian Food Pairings

The bold flavors in this type of wine go well with several vegetarian dishes. Lentil dishes are often a good bet (though lentil soup tends to pair better with Pinot Noir). In addition, this Italian wine also pairs effectively with bean stew.

Primitivo Wine Pairing In Conclusion

This classic Italian red wine is popular with food because it pairs well with tomato sauce. Traditionally, Primitivo was produced as table wines. Today, you can find higher-end wine bottles. That said, most of the wine bottles I reviewed in researching this post have a price point under $50. Curious to explore more Italian red wines? Check out my guide to Italian red blend wine or the taste of Chianti.

Primitivo Wine Pairing: Flavors & Top Bottles To Try

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