OMG, I cannot get the flavor out of my mind. I must share. I feel it is my duty to enlighten. Last night was Thursday and I had to work late. However I did a good thing and started a bit later so when I left at about 7:30 p.m., I was not completely exhausted. This provided the needed energy to whip up a dinner dish with the odds and ends left over from last week's holiday. My plan was a pasta so I stopped at my local wine shop and quickly scouted a Primitivo. Italian for italian. Done and done.
The pasta was a gluten-free fettuccine that I had on hand. The sauce ended up being a sauté of onion, garlic, pitted kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, baby bella mushrooms and oodles of fresh thyme and marjoram herbs, with grated parmesan and fresh sliced vine tomatoes to top it off. I was very excited about this dish when preparing it, but found the pasta to be so-so. The real magic came after dinner.
First though, the wine.
The Price: $11.99 at my local wine shop.
The Wine: 2009 Stefano Farina Masseria La Rosa del Salice Primitivo del Salento, IGT, Puglia, Italy
The Grape: 100% Primitivo (more on that grape in a moment)
Thoughts: Incredibly fruit forward! That was mediated by the saltiness of the pasta. I liked it ok on it's own. Not my favorite of all time but definitely drinkable. It is jammy, but not like the California Zins. Primitivos are generally more balanced. The finish integrates the flavors nicely.
Then I took it to the next level! As we finished dinner, I had the active thought, "this wine might pair nicely with a buckeye". We have an endless container of leftover buckeyes from the Thanksgiving holiday, which we have been nibbling on. If you have never had them, they are essentially peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate. Recipe that we used here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/buckeyes-i/
I waited a bit to digest and for my palate to open up again to a new flavor profile. Then I popped a bite of buckeye, washed down with the Primitivo..... I just get transported thinking about it. I always liked PB& J as a kid, but this grown-up version is worth aging for ;) The berry qualities and acidity in the wine are a perfect match with the creamy sweetness of the peanut butter. And the chocolate just brings it all home.
The Primitivo grape is very similar genetically to the Zinfandel grape. They both have been traced back to the Croation grape called Crljenak. The primitivo grape comes from Italy while the Zinfandel grape is distinctly Californian. Primitivo thrives today in it's original home of Puglia, the "heel" of Italy. The wine itself is generally high in alcohol, due to the uneven ripening on the vine. For this reason, the name Primitivo, translates roughly to "early one". Qualities of the wine, similar to red zinfandel are red berry fruit, raspberry predominant in wines from cooler areas, often described as "jammy" to de-note a jam like character. The grapes high sugar content can be fermented into levels of alcohol exceeding 15%. Yes, dear.