The pinpoint definition seems to be changing from year to year, but be it cousin, brother, father or uncle, most agree that Primitivo is related to California’s Zinfandel grape.  

At the recent Tre Bicchieri tasting last week, I was fortunate enough to taste an exceptional Primitivo that reminded me to pay more attention to this oft forgotten varietal.  That wine, will be included in my report later this month.  What it did in the instant case was get me to re-visit these wines and I found a wonderful example.  And the best part may be that it’s a mere $10. 

The 2010 Castello Monaci Primitivo “Piluna” is from Puglia, the heel of the Italian “boot”.   Piluna, in ancient dialect, was a clay pot or vessel, that the Romans and Etruscans used to contain wine or water.  Piluna is everything you could want and hope for in a $10 wine.   After reading a few reviews, I decided to decant the wine.  In the vessel, it is a dark, impenetrable purple, certainly almost black. 

In the glass, the wine exhibits dark berry aromas, with forest herbs, and black licorice.  It doesn’t smell like Zinfandel.  In the mouth, the wine is distinctly Italian.  The rich berry flavors are framed by dried herbs, spicy pepper and licorice notes.  Ample acids provide freshness and structure. As I tweeted while originally tasting this wine, “it’s hard to find fault here”….. and I stand by that remark.  For $10, there are few better values and this one comes with the handy bonus of being versatile enough to pair with lots of different foods. Plus, with just a wedge of cheese, it was interesting enough to drink on it’s own.   Readily available.  88 points. $9.99

The 100% Primitivo from Castello Monaci

The last half of the bottle sat in the decanter overnight and was fleshier and more expressive the next day.  This leads me to believe that this wine will even age well in the short term.  I’d suggest a cellaring potential of 2-4 years if you desired.  Bravo!
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