lunes, 4 de marzo de 2013

Tormaresca Torcicoda Primitivo, Salento IGT, Famiglia Antinori 2010


"Tormaresca Torcicoda Primitivo has typical varietal aromas: rich, ripe red fruits alongside a light element of prune and some spice from the wood. Soft, round and full-bodied on the palate, with a depth and wild complexity that sets it apart. Pair wirh roasted meat, mature cheeses and spicy soups". farehamwinecellar

"Ruby red in color with typical varietal aromas of plum, blackberry, clove and licorice. Soft flavors, good body, warm with refined and long tannins. Pair with roasted meat, seasoned cheese and spicy soups. 100% Primitivo" Winemaker

- Wine information: Torcicoda is 100% Primitivo made by Tormaresca. Tormaresca is made up of two estates in different areas of Puglia: in the central, inland region of Castel del Monte they have Aglianico, and in the Salento peninsula of the extreme south-east, Primitivo and Negroamaro. Cabernet and Chardonnay are grown in both zones, giving the winemaker a broad palette from which to blend the very consistent entry-level wines. Antinori only invested here in 1998, yet in that time Tormaresca has become a flagship of Puglian production. The Masseria Maìme estate runs along the Adriatic coast, with vineyards set inbetween woods and pine forests. The grapes for Torcicoda come from older Primitivo vineyards at the estate. Following pressing of the grapes and fermentation, there was a fifteen day maceration period in stainless steel tanks. During this time, the must completed alcoholic fermentation at temperatures of 26-28°C. After pressing and maceration, the wine completed malolactic fermentation in French and Hungarian barriques where it was aged for ten months.

- Price: £15


Primitivo is a dark-skinned grape variety used in certain inky, tannic wines from the Puglia region of deepest southern Italy. It is perhaps better known under its American synonym Zinfandel, which has become one of the most widely planted Vitis vinifera vines in the western United States.

It is likely that the rise of the variety in the United States rescued Primitivo from Puglian obscurity. Its popularity is only increasing, particularly through DOCs such as Primitivo di Manduria and its naturally sweet variant Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale - Puglia's very first DOCG.

It is thought that Primitivo was brought to the vineyards of southern Italy from the Primorska Hrvatska region of Croatia, where it is known as Crljenak Kasteljanski. It is likely it was in this form, and from this origin, that the variety arrived in America, although it was only in the 1990s that the Zinfandel-Primitivo-Crljenak link was confirmed.

Primitivo translates roughly as 'early one', and it is hard to miss the link here with Tempranillo, which means the same thing in Spanish. English speakers might infer the grape was in some way 'primitive', perhaps less refined than other grape varieties and the robust, almost aggressive character of much Primitivo might support this idea - even in Puglia the wine is known as Mirr Test, meaning 'hard wine'. However, the Primitivo name is thought to be a reference to the variety's early ripening nature, although it is also possible that It was named in reference to the uneven way Primitivo berries ripen; it is not unusual to see plump, fully ripened berries clustered alongside hard, green 'grapeshot'.

A classic Primitivo wine is high in both alcohol and tannins, intensely flavored and deeply colored. In Manduria, the fortified liquoroso variants often reach an ABV of 18%, which is dulled to 14% in table wines. A certain bitterness is often found in Primitivo which, combined with its mouth-puckering tannins, means that it needs a few years in either bottle or barrel. This faint bitterness is a trait that characterizes many Italian wines, and a quality that is being used to mark Primitivo as a truly Italian grape, quite distinct from its alter ego across the Atlantic.

Synonyms include: Zinfandel, Crljenak Kasteljanski.


Salento IGT is one of the most commonly used IGI titles in Puglia, southern Italy. It covers the Salento, the limestone-based peninsula which divides the Adriatic Sea from the Ionian Sea and provides Italy with its 'heel'. In theory, Salento IGT wines may be red, white, rosé, still, sparkling spumante, sweet passito, dry - essentially any style the local winemakers could dream of. In practice, however, the majority stick firmly to the long-established styles of the region: powerful, dry, rustic reds.

The Salento consists, in administrative terms at least, of Puglia's three southernmost provinces, Taranto (also covered by the Tarantino IGT title), Brindisi and Lecce. Thus the viticultural area covered by the Salento IGT title stretches 100 miles (180km) north to south, from the white beaches of Leuca, past the port town of Taranto, past the Gravina di Laterza canyon and right up to the border with Basilicata.

The list of grape varieties sanctioned for use in Salento IGT wines is substantial, numbering about 50. This is a symptom of southern Italy's move towards varietal winemaking and labeling, itself a way of attracting attention from the target consumer base. As is common for IGT titles, the list is a mix of Italian classics and the globally popular varieties which have made their way down from France over the years (e.g. Cabernet Sauvianon, Merlot and Chardonnay).

Although such popular, ubiquitous grapes as Sangiovese, Montepulciano and Pinot Grigio may be used in Salento IGT wines, it is the traditional
Puglian varieties which hold sway, particularly those used in the local DOC-level wines. Southern Puglia's star-performing DOCs are Primitivo di Manduria and Salice Salentino, so it is no surprise that their core grape varieties (Primitivo, Nearoamaro and Malvasia Nera) are also key in Salento IGT wines. Aromatic red Aleatico. and the little-known Susumaiello even get a look-in here, as does Fiano, making a token appearance for the white wines.

The terroir is classic Puglia here: hot, flat and dry. Only closer to the coast is there any respite from the famous sun of southern Italy, which is accurately nicknamed Il Mezzogiomo (meaning 'the midday' and referring to the relentless heat). The landscape is dominated by olive groves on a scale quite unlike any other part of Italy; Puglia generates almost half of Italy's olive oil. Although vineyards are also prolific here (and were even more so until the EU vine-pull schemes of the late 20th Century), their numbers are still swamped by the sheer volume of olive trees.

Puglia's other IGTs of significance include Daunia, Murnia, Tarantino and the region-wide Puglia IGT.

References: farehamwinecellar and wine-searcher   

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