WEEK SEVENTEEN WINE: Southern Italy's Zinfandel

Primitivo Quota 31, Cantine Menhir, 2018

Aromas of ripe black fruit, spicy plum, graphite and a whiff of brine lead the nose of this robust wine. The round, savory palate doles out juicy blackberry, blueberry, licorice and ground black pepper alongside brawny tannins. It ends on a bitter prune note with a medium to long finish, overall very balanced. 100% Primitivo.

The area of Puglia is one of the first populated in the peninsula and has many historic artifacts - the most famous being Dolmen and Menhir. 

Dolmen are rocks stacked to create a doorway, think Stonehenge. 

Menhir are huge oblong stones between 8 and 15 feet tall that are stood up on their ends.  They are strategically placed to monitor the sun and keep track of Solstices and other calendar events.  Most of the Menhir are located in the Salento Plain, and this is where the winery stands.

Puglia is a vast flat fertile plain.  The cultivation of grapes is one of the predominate crops of the region.  It has been this way for as long as we know because all civilizations that have lived here have some record of grape growing and wine making.  

The winery takes up the bottom floor of an 18th century Baronial Palace. 

The second floor houses the administrative offices and an inn.  The vineyards are scattered throughout the regions with some of the vines being over 80 years old.  The winery is focused on tradition and uses the traditional methods of fermentation and aging with a few touches of modern winemaking where prudent.  This focus on tradition is shown in the grape choices as they produce wines from indigenous grapes that many outside of Puglia have heard of.  Even though you may not have heard of some of these grapes, give them a try as they have been around for 3000+ years for a reason.


About the producer

When contemporary style seamlessly blends with ancient tradition, and one man’s dream is nourished with an extraordinary passion and a modern vision, the wine of Cantine Menhir Salento comes to life.  Gaetano Marangelli, native of Puglia, has seen this dream come to fruition in an unusually short time. In 2000, he began making wines through artisan processes that respect the time-honored traditions of local winemaking, while experimenting with unfamiliar varietals and exploring new ways to emphasize the uniqueness of Puglia’s grapes, fertile soil, and vineyards.  The result is harmonious, balanced, yet uniquely powerful wine.  The wines have received numerous national and international awards and are distributed in thirty countries around the world.