Grape Expectations: Zinfandel

It may seem counterintuitive to base a column on a full-bodied red grape variety just as we are starting to experience some warmer weather, but let’s face it, this is England and we will probably still be at home most evenings sheltering from the rain.

Like many grape varieties, there is some dispute as to where Zinfandel originates. One thing is certain, though, it is not the country where it is most famous – and that is America (native American grape vines have a reputation for tasting rather ‘interesting’ to be polite about it). In California you will find treasure troves of old vine Zinfandel producing full bodied red wines with flavours of raisins and spice. Please ignore the misleadingly named White Zinfandel which is actually a rosé and has more in common with an alcopop than a wine.

In Puglia, and various other parts of Southern Italy, Zinfandel can be found under the name of Primitivo (or should that be ‘in California, Primitivo can be found under the name of Zinfandel’?). Here the wines have the classic Italian dash of acidity, making them excellent candidates for pairing with rich pasta dishes (or whatever else you happen to be cooking – you all know my opinions about food and wine pairing).

Primitivo Tenuta del Pajaru, IGT Puglia – Rich and deep dark berry fruit with a flash of freshness. A very satisfying glass of wine and a taste of the quality you can find from southern Italy.