A dual citizen, Italian-American grape

Prim-i-tee-voh / Zinfandel

If you like strong flavours but don’t like the tannins and structure you get in some red wines then this could be the wine for you … Primitivo and Zinfandel are the same grape, although this is a relatively recent discovery. Whilst they have stylistic differences depending on their relative homes, Southern Italy and California respectively, they share bold, boozy, brambly characteristics.These are the result of lots of sunshine in hot growing conditions. In cheaper wines you get nothing but juiciness and alcohol, which can be a bit uninspiring, but as you go up the ladder you get more layers of flavour and a bit more structure. Primitivo tends to have a bit more of this structure, whilst Californian Zinfandel is often made to taste a bit softer and sweeter, with some vanilla from a bit of oak ageing.

Things you should know

Top Tip: Don't be put off by 'white zinfandel', this bears no real resemblance to its true red self.
Specific Food Match: The lack of tannin means that Primitivo and Zinandel aren't the best red for a steak, better to hit the burgers instead. Zinfandel is also a fabulous match for tagines and other slow cooked meats with a sweeter sauce.
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