The 2009 Masseria Altemura Sasseo Primitivo is sourced from Estate vineyards located in the Salento district of Puglia in the bootheel of Italy. The vineyards are located near the cooling breezes of the Mediterranean and grapes have been grown in this area from before Roman times. Masseria Altemura has been part of Zonin’s family of wines since 2000, Zonin is the largest privately held wine group in Italy. This is an IGT designated wine, in Italy DOCG is the top designation followed by DOC, the rules and regulations prescribed by those governing bodies can be very strict, sometimes going as far as to mandate the number of bottles each winery can produce. IGT wines have quality controls but give the wineries more leeway in making their wines. This Primitivo was aged in French oak barrels for 12 months and then further aged in the bottle. Primitivo and Zinfandel are different clones of a grape originally grown in Croatia, while they are genetically extremely close they are not exactly the same. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is deep dark ruby red with a clear halo. The nose is plums, oak vanilla, cedar plank, slightly smoky with a touch of sea salt. There is a smooth, full mouthfeel, it starts with raspberry, mocha chocolate, soft not sharp Altoids spice, and black cherry. The mid palate brings a little creamy vanilla, blood orange and a slight tug from the tannins. There is plenty of structure and acidity to stand up to many food pairings and more than enough flavor to make this an excellent late night sipper. The finish is reasonably strong and lasts a respectable amount of time.
The Masseria Altemura Sasseo Primitivo is really well suited to be paired with meats and BBQ on the backyard grill, a full flavored wine, but not too heavy, it won’t be out of place when the weather turns hot. If you are a fan of Zinfandel you will appreciate the virtues of the this Primitivo, but this is very much a different variation on the theme. So pour yourself a glass of Zinfandel’s soave, sophisticated Italian cousin.