Primitivo and Pasta from the Heel of the Boot #ItalianFWT
Italian Food, Wine & Travel Explores Puglia
This month, we’re traveling (virtually of course) to Puglia, in the far south of Italy. Puglia is the high-heel of the ever fashionable boot that is Italy.
If you look carefully, you can tell a lot from the photo above. While much of Italy is marked by the spine of the Appenine mountains, Puglia is a plain. All that land translates into an abundance of agriculture, producing a wide variety of crops for the rest of the country. Wheat for pasta, vegetables, olives, you name it, even some spicy red peppers.
In researching Puglia, I found that all that agricultural area produced something we haven’t seen in other parts of Italy: veggie-heavy dishes! Not vegetarian, mind you, but dishes that feature lots of vegetables. Of course, we’ll always add savory flavor with pancetta, etc… but we rarely see vegetables figuring into a Piemontese dish, for example.
The pasta in Puglia, like much of the south, is based on flour and water, no eggs. Not a problem, just a difference to keep in mind. This also means you can find very nice dry, hand-made pasta; much easier than spending the afternoon making your own!
That far south, you might also guess that Puglia is warm, and you’d be right. We look to Puglia for rich, ripe red wines. Our #ItalianFWT friends Orna and Tom tell us some of the best Rosato’s in Italy come from Puglia. Sadly, it’s not really Rosato season yet in Minnesota and the store shelves are not yet stocked for the summer, so Puglian versions have been hard to find. We’ll see in the coming weeks!
Primitivo is one of the main Puglian wines we see here in the states. DNA testing has shown it’s either the same grape as American Zinfandel, or a close relative. We’ll have some fun today comparing Puglian versions to what we know about our local choices.
Primaterra Primitivo IGT 2013 ($13 at Solo Vino Wines)
The Primaterra winery appears to be part of a large group of wineries from all over Italy. They are aimed at making affordable, approachable wines for export. Their Primitivo wine is 100% Primitivo and is fermented for 20-30 days in stainless steel. It is aged in a combination of oak and stainless steel.
Eye: Dark ruby, opaque almost to a bright purple edge.
Nose: Pruny dark fruit, almost to raisins but not quite. Earthy component underneath, a touch meaty and smoky.
Mouth: Full bodied with ripe dark fruit, a bit raisiny. Medium acidity, low tannins. Overall impression: Ripe fruit at a nice price point while retaining Italian character.
Compared to American Zinfandel? The Primaterra has the ripe, sweet fruit we expect, however, it isn’t as heavily oaked and this vintage only weighed in at 13.5% alcohol, which is a bit light compared to a typical California Zin. An enjoyable wine for drinking today, not much reason to let it age, also pretty comparable.
Wine Pairing: Puglian Primitivo with Orecchiette and Broccoli
The wine works nicely with this dish. The ripe fruit and body work well with the savory elements from the pancetta. While the pasta is filling, it doesn’t really need to be offset with a very tannic wine. All in all, a success.
Italian Food, Wine & Travel Group
This Saturday April 2nd you’ll get a variety of what our Italian bloggers group has to offer and here is a preview below. Make sure to also join our live Twitter chat at 10am CDT on #ItalianFWT.
Vino Travels – Penne Con I Broccoli with Salice Salento Rose’
Paradise of Exiles – Three Wine Bars in Lecce
Orna O’Reilly – A Taste of Puglia
Culinary Adventures with Camilla – Insalata con Polpi in Umido e Patate
Rockin Red Blog – Puglia: Take Me Away!
Cooking Chat – Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Kale
The Palladian Traveler – Savoring the Salento
Vigneto Communications – Indigenous Grapes of Puglia
Postcardz from Victoria – A Tuscan Wine Legend Finds Inspiration in Puglia
The Wining Hour – Pleasures of Puglia: Primitivo, Cavatelli and Shrimp & Eggplant Arrabbiata
L’Occasion – A Night In: Celebrate Puglia at Home
This is such a classic recipe from Puglia that you’ll find twenty different variations with just a few minutes searching. As always, use the best ingredients you can find. Spend a little extra and get some pasta from Italy! Ingredients Instructions
Orecchiette Pasta with Cauliflower
This is such a classic recipe from Puglia that you’ll find twenty different variations with just a few minutes searching. As always, use the best ingredients you can find. Spend a little extra and get some pasta from Italy!