The Primitivo is one of the few Italian varieties to have two ripening times, producing two harvestings.
The story of the Primitivo is intertwined with the legend. A number of scholars think that the origin of this grape variety dates back to over 2000 years ago; it probably came from Dalmatia and arrived in Apulia through Illyria. According to other scholars, it should be similar to the so-called Zinfandel, a grape variety coming from Hungary and – afterwards – brought in California and Australia (such a theory seems to be supported by recent analysis of DNA). A certainty is that the Primitivo arrived in Apulia by the end of the XVII century and that the areas destined to the cultivation of this variety expanded considerably only in the XIX century, when it was implanted following the damages inflicted by the phylloxera the to the European vineyards. The name of this red-berry variety derives from its early ripening in every phase of its growing, from the sprouting time to the blossoming, from the veraison to the ripening of the grape. The Primitivo is trained in the Apulian goblet training system with 4-5 spurs; it is featured by a percentage of 20-30% of fertile lateral shoots ('femminelle'), which are able to give a second later production. It does not stand up well to rot and spring frosts and can have flower abortion in rainy years and deep soils. It stands up quite well to oidium and to downy mildew (peronospora destructor), but it is slightly sensitive to botrytis and prefers calcareous and cleyey medium-textured soils.
As already stated above, the Primitivo is one of the few Italian varieties to have two ripening times, producing two harvestings, the first of which occurs between the end of August and the beginning of September. The second production is obtained from the do-called "racemes", which ripe later, between tha last decade of September and the first of October. The plant is characterized by a medium-sized, pentagonal leaf, with five dark green limbs and covered with a thin down on the lower side. The bunch is of medium size, long, cylindrical-cone shaped, simple, winged or double and compact. The grape is spheroidal with skin of medium thickness, of a bluish colour. The level of production remains constant and of excellent quality in the years, so that it appears necessary to restrain the abundant productions with important thinning out operations, made in pre-ripening time. The wine has a deep colour, tending towards violaceous with fragrances of cherry and plum. On the palate it is full and warm, tending to soften with ageing. Moreover, the production of the sweet liqueur-like primitivo is also possible; it has an alcoholic content not less than 16,5% vol.
Added the 03 May 2009 in Who we are