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Primitivo in Malta: What’s the buzz? - Farsonsdirect Malta

Primitivo in Malta: What’s the buzz?

Primitivo Wines in Malta 

Primitivo seems to be one of the most popular wines these days. Malta has a long history drinking Italian wines, but the Primitivo trend is relatively new, yet very promising. From supermarket, bulky wines to more premium examples served in high end restaurants, the intense Puglian red seems to attract more and more followers. Primitivo wines in Malta have hit an all time high with many people trying and falling in love with this fantastic Italian red wine.

The Primitivo Zinfandel Grape

Most experts agree that Primitivo’s birthplace is the dalmatian coast of today’s Croatia. The grape’s name in Croatia is Tribidrag or Crljenak Kasteljanski. On the other hand, recent DNA analysis has confirmed than the “national grape of the USA”, the famous Zinfandel, is actually Primitivo, planted in USA in the early 19th century from Italian cuttings.

History of Primitivo

Primitivo in the 1990s was considered a blending grape of inferior quality and therefore was very badly affected by EU’s vine pull scheme, resulting the destruction of hundreds of vineyards in Puglia. More recently though, the rise and success of American Zinfandel, revived the industry’s interest for the grape. At the same time, consumer preferences started to change, looking for bold, fruit forward, juicy wines and of course Primitivo ticked all the boxes. Primitivo plantings started to increase and 100% Primitivo wines started to become more and more popular, both in Italy and abroad.

Primitivo is a dark, thick skinned grape, resulting intense, tannic, inky red wines. A benchmark Primitivo’s style is usually a bold wine, high in alcohol, almost radiating the warmth of the south of Italy. Tannins are also high, coming from the rich in anthocyanin content skin of the grapes. A slight bitterness may be also detected, and the wines are often aged in new or old oak to add complexity and round up the harsh tannins. Acidity is usually low to medium. The wine often feels sweet and may actually have some residual sugar, which is one of the reasons behind its increased popularity.

Dark fruits are dominating the palette and nose of a Primitivo, with blackberries and blueberries being the protagonists. Liquorice and black pepper as well as spices are often met tasting the best examples.

The best expressions of Primitivo are to be found under the Primitivo di Manduria DOC, Gioia del Colle DOC, Salice Salentino DOC and some selected IGT Salento.

Wines to taste:

Primitivo Di Manduria
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