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Primitivo: Puglia's Signature Red

2020 Feudi di Guagnano Terramare Primitivo

For those lucky enough to have visited, the peninsula of Puglia evokes sunny days, beaches and luscious cuisine made from fresh seafood, bountiful harvests of vegetables and enormous olive crops. In fact, Puglia supplies almost half of Italy’s olive oil and more wine than Tuscany.

The soil here is so fertile that it can grow almost anything, including the region's traditional red grapes, Primitivo and Negroamaro. Known as Zinfandel in other parts of the world, Primitivo is one of Italy’s classic wine styles. The name ‘Primitivo’ translates to ‘early one’, a reference to the grape’s love for the sun and its ability to ripen suddenly. There is only the shortest window of perfect ripeness when the grapes must be picked, before they become overly jammy and raisined.

The combination of rich soil, plenty of sunshine and cooling sea breezes off the Adriatic and Ionian seas brings generous yields in the vineyard, and without meticulous viticulture, can result in pleasant, but simple wines. In the last 20 years, a renewed dedication to craftsmanship and investment from well-known industry names has led to a much greater emphasis on quality and consequently, a bevy of national and international awards.

Our friends at Feudi di Guagnano are committed to making fine Pugliese wine that is demonstrative of the peninsula’s blessed terroir. In 2002, brothers Gianvito, Carlo and Franco dedicated themselves to reviving their grandparents’ vineyard and are now producing a world class standard of Negroamaro and Primitivo.

The Terramare is made with Primitivo grapes from 25-30 year old vines. Ruby red in the glass with purple hues, this is an intense and complex wine with notes of plum, violet, and Mediterranean herbs and spices. On the palate, it is balanced and soft with a long finish. A terrific match for roast meats, pizza, pasta or anything with hearty red sauce. Today, we suggest trying it with Executive Chef Nino Zoccali’s recipe for Ragù Bolognese, from his first cookbook, Pasta Artigiana.

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