The 2010 Grifone Primitivo is a $3.99 Trader Joe’s exclusive. Sourced from vineyards in the Manduria district (they have been specializing in Primitivo in this area for centuries), which is located inside Puglia in the boot-heel of Italy. This is designated an IGT wine, which indicates the wine is of high quality, but does not conform of the rules of the DOC and DOCG. Primitivo is genetically the same as Zinfandel (as is the Crljenak Kaštelanski grape from Croatia) and is one of the oldest known grapes, being traced back to the ancient Greeks. The alcohol content is 13%.
The color is a ruby red with a salmon halo. The nose is strawberry, a light floral scent and the blueberry pancake syrup from Denny’s. It starts off with a blast of raspberry jam, then a softer strawberry, then a faint taste of chocolate. The mid-palate adds some creaminess, a bite from the tannins and some Zinfandel spice. The finish is fairly full and lasts a very long time for a $4 wine.
They say that Primitivo tastes decidedly different from Zinfandel, since it is grown in very different soil and is subject to vastly different weather conditions, but the Grifone reminded me of Zinfandel, in a very good way. Grifone Primitivo is generally a smooth, fruit forward wine, but with a pleasing rough and ready edge, courtesy of the tannins and the spice. The Grifone Primitivo is a very complete wine for $3.99.