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Nostro Vino Vineyards, Amador County
Grower: Bill Dillian
The mysteries surrounding Primitivo and Zinfandel are slowly being resolved. At first, genetic testing couldn’t distinguish between the two grapes, but did this mean that they were the same? Or perhaps the analysis lacked the precision to illuminate a difference? Today it is generally accepted that Primitivo and Zinfandel are both genetically equivalent to the Croatian variety (Pat, can I buy a vowel); Crljenak. Primitivo is the name commonly used for the selection of Crljenak grown in the Puglia region of southeastern Italy. Zinfandel is the name used for the selection of Crljenak vines grown in California.
In the vineyard, I can count on two distinctions. First is that true to its name, Primitivo ripens first. Often by as much as a week to ten days. In the sixteen years, we have produced both wines only in the frost ravaged 2011 vintage did we harvest Zinfandel before Primitivo. The second distinction is that the downy tomentum on the underside of the Zinfandel leaf is absent from the Primitivo. I suspect that the parasitic Willamette and Pacific spider mites that often call the tomentum home may contribute to the delayed ripening of the Zinfandel.
In the cellar, for years I couldn’t distinguish the two wines; one year Zinfandel would be more substantial and the next vintage the Primitivo had more flavor. But lately it seems that the Primitivo has shown a more delicate side to it than Zinfandel. This often means that Primitivo will show its tannins more easily and thus we must take extra care in the production of Primitivo to achieve a balanced wine.
The 2015 Primitivo has a ruby purple color of medium depth with the beginnings of a carmine hue. The aromas are of black raspberries and plums. A bouquet of vanilla, hazelnut, and a hint of anise add to the wine’s complexity. On the palate, soft creamy flavors of ripe red fruits dance with those of mocha and toasted oak. The fruit flavors transition to a long lingering finish featuring tannins that are mature and well-integrated. This is the easiest drinking of the Crljenaks we produce.
Varietal Composition: 100% Primitivo
14.2% Alc. 0.74 g/100ml TA 3.53 pH
38% American Oak 50% French Oak 12% Neutral Oak
Released: March 1, 2017
495 Cases Produced
Suggested Retail Price: $26
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