Wine: Grifone Primitivo IGT
Region: Puglia, southern Italy
Availability: Trader Joe’s
In the glass: Grifone Primitivo wine is a deep blackish-red with a dense opaque core going out into a deep crimson rim definition with high viscosity.
On the nose: Imagine a warm cherry pie fresh from the oven. That’s the first thing that comes to mind with this wine. It expands and shows deep crushed mixed black fruit with berries, plums and hints of licorice root and herbs, with underlying earthiness in the minerality.
On the palate: This is a rich, full-bodied wine. There are loads of concentrated blackberry and cherry fruit at first, then soft, supple but a nicely extracted black plum base with layers of dark chocolate, spice cake, blueberry pie and that licorice hint. The midpalate is solid and full of verve. The tannins, while firm, are not bity or obtrusive. The delicious finish is lingering and has touches of sweet black fruit to the end.
Odds and ends: Yet another killer value wine from the south of Italy, down in the “heel” of the “boot” that forms the nation’s outline. This is purportedly the ancient, original home of what was transplanted into California and became the zinfandel grape variety. Big, brawny and full of fruit and alcohol are these ripe wines’ characteristics. At less than $4.50, Grifone Primitivo is probably one of the greatest bang-for-your-buck wines on the market and it is exclusive to Trader Joe’s. It’s hard to imagine again how they get these wines produced, imported, distributed and sold at these ridiculous prices. The packaging is great looking, designer and modern, almost like a Hermes product with its edgy orange label. I’d say buy it by the case and drink this up before the end of 2016. Try it with a peppercorn-crusted steak or the like; it can definitely handle that and a whole lot more in the food department.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.