Tag Archives: Primitivo

Today’s Wine Word: Primitivo


My brother-in-law was at the grocery store picking up some things for dinner and called to ask whether he should buy the Old Vine Zinfandel or the Primitivo – same brand. My answer was that if the price is the same, flip a coin, because Primitivo is another name for Zinfandel.

In 2002, DNA fingerprinting revealed that Zinfandel’s origins are in Croatia, of all places. They traced it back to a rare variety known as Crljenak Kaštelanski – try to pronounce that one after a few glasses of Zinfandel – or even before 😉

From Croatia it traveled to southern Italy, where they call it Primitivo. Most of it is found in Puglia, the heel of the boot. It also made its way to the east coast of the US as a table grape (for eating) and, eventually, to California where it became a wildly popular wine grape. It was the most planted variety in California prior to prohibition and it’s #3 today.

TRIVIA! In California we used many, many different names used for it – Black St. Peters, Zinfendal, Zeinfandall, Zenfenthal – before settling on Zinfandel. Continue reading

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Wine Trivia du Jour

Did you know that Zinfandel and Primitivo are the same variety? True! A few years back it was discovered that they have the same DNA (Your tax $ at work ;-). As with any variety, there may be clonal differences. Zinfandel was the most popular variety in California before prohibition and is the #3 grape today! Primitivo is beginning to travel these days, but is found primarily in Puglia (the heel of Italy’s boot.) Cheers!

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