Zinfandel, also known as Primitivo (Italy), Crljenak (Croatia)
The grape variety is native to Croatia and not to the Italian Puglia (Apulia) as commmonly thought, although it was cultivated there very early on in the Phoenician trade. It also emerged simultaneously in California 200 years ago, commonly known as Zinfandel, where it became very popular in the United States. It is a high-yielding, hardy variety that likes warm climates and is also known to be resistant to disease. The grape variety offers a red wine that is better known than its mono-varietal rosé wine (called White Zinfandel). These reds are appreciated for their spicy character with cinnamon and clove aromas thanks to their passage in barrels. The high sugar content gives the wine a velvety appearance. Tasty from their youth being not very tannic, they are not kept for more than 8 years. They are warm wines which marvellously combine power and class. Interestingly, a strong Primitivo di Manduria is nothing like a Californian Zinfandel because the terroir is quite different: it will have more character and intensity. It gets its name from the early ripening of its bunches. In Puglia, where it is hand-picked depending on the degree of ripeness of the grapes, it can sometimes be harvested twice (between mid-August and mid-October).