I opened a Primitivo today in honor of #nationalzinfandelday for a couple reasons: First of all because it’s a fake #influencer holiday and I purposely never open the *proper* wines on those days but more importantly in honor of the 80’s and early 90’s when we were told it was the original Zinfandel and a lot of us believed it–and many still do. That and I don’t really have any zinfandel in my cellar. Maybe a couple… I probably have more bottles of Plavac Mali, honestly. If you had met me in the late-80’s, my cellar was made up almost exclusively of Zin: they were cheap, fun, represented a great historical perspective in California, and most of them were made in a way representing Cabernet’s slightly chunkier little sister. That slowly changed shortly thereafter, as concentration, plumminess, alcohol and zin-puns on labels grew to uncomfortable levels. Where am I going with this? Absolutely nowhere.
This little $8 special-interest screw-top from the Sculpterra folks was never intended for 6 years of age, but it’s delicious–and FAR more available than when I was first offered these samples. Light and bright in the glass, a slight garnet tinge to the wide, transparent edge. There’s a dirtyness to the nose from reduced fruit offering dank background to still-plush cherry and plum.
In the mouth, a savory covering filters out any expectations of gobs of fruit or jammy characteristics. Thin, delicate aspects of tertiary prop up the mouth-feel, riven with still-bright acid and the grind of bitter structure. Its alive with wild herbaceous textures well-balanced upon dusty peach and raspberry glitter. There’s a slight dullness apparent from drinking it well past intended time-frame, but nothing approaching “far-gone” or even “tired”. Quite lovely, actually: placid and friendly and working well with food. Find these wines in your area: probably one of the best-made sub-10-dollar bottles out there.
2016 HEROE from SCULPTERRA Primitivo Paso Robles California 15.3