May 2017 Selection

Ten, one hundred, one thousand Primitivos!

May 2017 Selection

Angiuli Primitivo Maccone 2015 (2 bottles)
L'Archetipo Primitivo 2011 (2 bottles)
San Marzano Primitivo di Manduria Sessantanni 2013 (2 bottles)

Normal retail price: £95.96
Club Discount Price: £84.25
You save: £11.71 (12.20%)

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About this selection...

Some say that it is genetically identical to the Californian Zinfandel. Others say that is derived from a similar Balkan vine. But the truth is that the Italian Primitivo, concentrated between Puglia and Salento, is the expression of an inimitable personality which has no equal in the worldwide wine scene. For too many decades considered a robust, sweet wine for blending, and thus sold in northern Italian markets as a blending wine, Primitivo encompasses within its phenolic virtues potential which is hard to find, all together, in just one grape.

Primitivo ripens early (hence "primo", meaning "first") but is exceedingly rich. It is a vine of unmatched versatility, which communicates with the territory in a unique way. In Salento, between Sava and Manduria, it expresses a heartiness and robustness of exceptional structure: noble and austere, with a surprising olfactory amplitude, the taste is warm and enveloping, supported by consistently high temperatures and, sometimes, by a caressing sugar residue that beautifully balances its austere taste. It's a Primitivo produced near the sea, so it's salty and minerally, but especially sun-kissed by the Salento summers, even super-ripened by the proverbial winds of the region.

But, further inland, toward the deep heart of Puglia, where the higher altitudes take their toll, there is Gioia del Colle, where Primitivo changes guise and becomes a mountain wine, the noble lord of currents and valleys. Here it is stripped of a lot of its imposing structure to reveal its unmatched subtlety, delicacy, finesse and elegance, capable of satisfying palates attuned to detail rather than muscularity.

Like all the greatest Italian grape varieties, with their magnificent expressions of regional identity that is unique in the world, Primitivo too has shown its multi-faceted and versatile nature. Its naturally sweet version, especially from the Manduria countryside, is a classic, rooted in the local tradition of late harvesting, which gave – and still gives - this nectar its unforgettable softness. Its rosé version bursts with freshness and vigour, just perfect in the summer with seafood, competing in agility and versatility with the best Negroamaros. Not to forget the great red reserves: these are a world unto themselves, which are the most authentic and complete victory of a vine that has turned out to be extraordinarily enduring.

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Angiuli Primitivo Maccone 2015 (2 bottles)

Red. Angiuli Donato Puglia, Italy Primitivo

Bottle: £10.54 club members / £11.97 non-members


Donato Angiuli's winery in Adelfia, a symbol of goodwill tied to the traditions of the territory and the constant pursuit of excellence, has been around for three generations and focuses on experimenting with Primitivo, enhancing its potential and peculiar differences. One of the most active and dynamic wineries in the territory, Angiuli works on only four hectares of land, a clear sign of an approach to quality winemaking.

Angiuli's Primitivo is an extraordinary product from the Gioia del Colle area: it combines the subtle finesse which is typical of the local Primitivo, in the hilly inland area, with the soft intensity which is characteristic of this late harvesting variety, as in this case, in the middle of September.

The winery's magnificent saplings, which are 60 years old in this area and which grow on predominantly clay soil, give wines excellent aromatic complexity and elegance combined with a firm structure. The Maccone Primitivo, for example, has become a veritable pearl for the winery, winning hearts over with its ruby coloured, purple shaded grape.

What stands out in the aromas, which are expansive and elegant, are plums, ripe prunes and sour black cherries, on a bed of dried violet floral notes and deeper notes of black pepper with slight mineral roasting. Warm and fulfilling, the taste is distinguished by the sweetness of the tannins and its caressing softness which, while not detached from a pleasant freshness, makes this wine enjoyable and complete.

Pasta with bolognese sauce

  • Alcohol content: 15,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC

Angiuli Primitivo Maccone 2015
Front and back

L'Archetipo Primitivo 2011 (2 bottles)

Red. L'Archetipo Salento, Italy Primitivo

Bottle: £12.81 club members / £14.56 non-members


The legendary Salento red earth, clay-rich and at the same time siliceous and calcareous, lashed by the sun and wind which give so much to the historical olive groves of the region, help produce the Primitivo dell'Archetipo. Undoubtedly one of the most constantly high-quality wines which is only getting better, it has an imposing body and, simultaneously, a fresh and rounded finesse, which you'll find yourself unable to stop drinking. From strictly organic farms certified as synergistic gardening, this Primitivo is the child of 15-year old planting.

While Primitivos are full of character and round-bodied like a fully ripe wine, Archetipo's harvest does not go beyond the beginning of September. This is a sign of a search for elegance and finesse uncommon when applied to a similar vine. This Primitivo is neither filtered nor clarified, and Archetipo is subjected not only to a long, slow fermentation of about twenty days, but also, and above all, a significant ageing of one year in large barrels and another year in steel, followed by at least a semester of stabilization in the bottle.

Deep ruby in colour, impenetrable and at times still young, on the nose this Primitivo releases all the breadth and richness of top-notch Salento wines. Deep and accomplished, it has notes of blackberry jam, cherries in alcohol, sour cherry and raspberry for its fresher notes, but also juniper berries, walnut and liquorice in its darker and more complex aromas. The taste reminds us of the calibre of the bright sun-kissed Primitivo, as symbolised in the label: fruity, but also decidedly tannic and austere, it stands out from the rest for its surprising freshness and, above all, the remarkable salinity, which is the lasting memory of its infinite persistence.

  • Alcohol content: 13,0%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC

L'Archetipo Primitivo 2011
Front and back

San Marzano Primitivo di Manduria Sessantanni 2013 (2 bottles)

Red. Cantine San Marzano Primitivo di Manduria, Italy Primitivo

Bottle: £18.77 club members / £21.45 non-members


A cooperative identity and meticulous quality research - seemingly in contradiction but in reality they aren't - are two cornerstones in the important wine-growing area of San Marzano. The numbers, of course, are astounding, but the quality standards applied to native grape varieties is beyond contention. Primitivo is definitely the one that has provided the winery with its greatest satisfaction, perfectly embodying the genuineness of the territory and local producers, and responding perfectly to the needs of the new uncompromising winegrowing style.

The calcareous and rocky red earth of the Sava and San Marzano region, in the Salento inland not far from the Taranto Ionic coast, are subject to a typical Mediterranean climate, with low rainfall and excellent annual temperature differences. These aspects, combined with the harvest which is never conducted before the middle of September and the long 20-day maceration period, give the marvellous Primitivo di San Marzano breadth and roundness that have made them famous and distinguishable amongst wine-lovers.

Sessantanni, with its perfectly ruby colour streaked with violet, is the child from the iconic agro-food area of Manduria and the winery's most historic vineyards. It's a delirium of sensations on the nose, from cherries in alcohol, herbs, to toasting to spicy notes of cinnamon and clove, to liquorice balsamic. On the palate it is lavish and opulent, with perfectly integrated noble tannins that showcase the natural softness of the product. A very long prolonged finish is imbibed with memories of cinchona and, again, liquorice.

  • Alcohol content: 14,5%
  • Optimum serving temperature: Between 16ºC and 18ºC

San Marzano Primitivo di Manduria Sessantanni 2013
Front and back

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