Varietal: 100% Primitivo
Region: Puglia, Italy
Total production: 2000 bottles, only in excellent vintages
The ‘Unodinoi’ is a winter wine. I say that because it’s a wine that makes you want to get your blanket, put on your fuzzy socks, get some pasta going, and melt into the comfortable snowy coziness that is New England in February, while it helps you reminisce of springtime.
It’s February 2nd and I’m drinking Macchiarola while watching “Groundhog Day”. Apparently spring is coming early this year. That’s good because this striking bright red Primitivo won’t be enough to keep me thinking of spring flowers for long. On the nose, there’s strawberry, bright cherry, a bit of thyme. On the palate, it teases of hiking trips—fresh soil and earth, crisp tart acidity, and the smooth velvet feel of a warm late spring breeze.
Domenico Magnione of Tenuta Macchiarola must be familiar with this sort of breeze—the domaine is in Puglia, Southern Italy, on fertile soil farmed organically since 2007. Made with wild yeast, destemmed, and aged in concrete, drinking it brings you to a land you’ve never seen. This wine has a home. It has a sense of place.
Why drink this wine? The grape, Primitivo, is one you might already be familiar with. It’s sibling, Zinfandel, has long been loved and heralded as one of California’s original grapes. We used to think Primitivo and Zinfandel were one and the same, but now we know that they both descend from Crljenak, an ancient grape from Croatia. In fact, Primitivo and Zinfandel are closely related, and as someone who drinks a lot of California Zinfandel, it’s a wonderful experience to see a different side of the genetic lineage through Macchiarola’s ‘Unodinoi’.
The pure ripe fruit, yet lasting and balanced acidity, is enough to make me reach for this bottle again and again. Open it up when it’s time to relive the bounty of late Spring. I can’t wait for you to try it.