Complex Primitivo From a Lesser-Known Region

Today’s Story: Agricola Felline

Felline was established during the 1990s by the Perrucci family in Manduria of the Puglia (Apulia) region of Italy. Under the leadership of Gregory Perrucci, Felline is a champion of older native Italian varieties such as Primitivo, Negramaro, Ottavianello, Malvasia Nera, and Sussumaniello. Though these older varieties and many wines coming out of Puglia were “cheaper table wines” made in bulk, Gregory champions the region and spent great effort in studying the various soils and microclimates to produce higher quality, true-to-variety wines. Alongside Felline, Gregory established the Accademia dei Racemi to further his goals of bringing greater renown to the older varieties and wines of Puglia with the help of other wineries who share a similar mission. Gregory has been instrumental in building the reputation of Puglia as a winegrowing region, and it seems there are only greater heights ahead.

Today’s Wine: 2010 Primitivo di Manduria Cuvée Anniversario

100% Primitivo; 14.5% ABV

The 2010 Primitivo di Manduria Cuvée Anniversario is a rather beautiful, translucent, medium garnet color. Given some time to open up, the wine showcases a nose of sweet red cherry, strawberry, fig, red licorice, violet, exotic spice, cinnamon, and gravel. On the palate, I get notes of blackberry purée, ripe cherry, strawberry rhubarb, raspberry jam, sweet tobacco, dried earth, iron, and medicinal herbs. This wine is medium- to full-bodied with medium acidity, chewy medium (+) tannins, and a long finish.

Price: $50. I think this is very fairly priced and it’s a fun bottling of Primitivo with some age on it. There’s certainly still plenty of gas left in the tank emphasized by the wine’s fruit-forward characteristics and structure, but it is beautiful now. Share this with your Zinfandel lover who may not know it’s the same genetic variety!

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