2019 ASR Primitivo

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If you like big Zins, then try this wine.

Primitivo is famous in southern Italy, particularly in the Puglia region  (the country’s boot heel) where the grape thrives.   In California, there have been many debates on varietal’s connections to Zinfandel.  Definitive genetic analysis completed at UC Davis in 2003 ultimately made a crucial link when it proved that California’s Zinfandel, Italy’s Primitivo and Croatia’s  Crljenak/Pribidrag all share the same DNA profile.

We’ve always been intrigued by the Zinfandel connection, so in 2000 we planted Primitivo high above our winery on a one acre sloping site.  It quickly became apparent that the varietal had very different flavor profiles than Zinfandel planted in the same area.  Those differences make this a perfect varietal for the Alexander School Reserve series.

Although the weather was a bit cooler than usual early in the 2019 growing season, there were no unusual temperature swings during bud break or flowering.  Moderate temperatures continued through the summer, allowing the grapes to mature gradually.  After 2018’s record setting crop size, 2019 swung back to an average yield.  After harvest the Primitivo grapes were de-stemmed into 1/2 ton macro bins for fermentation, while the Zinfandel went directly to stainless steel tanks.  Both were fermented with Rockpile yeast.  This yeast is perfect for rich concentrated reds, adding a lushness to the wine.  After fermentation the wine aged for 20 months in thirteen American oak barrels.  Winemaker Kevin Hall blended 10% Zinfandel to round out this vintages big acidity, resulting in a rounder mouthfeel.

The 2019 Alexander School Reserve Primitivo offers aromas of blueberry, plum, red cherry, oak, vanilla, and black pepper.  There are spicy, medium bodied flavors of cranberry along with warm spices and cardamon.   This is a big wine with great acidity and a juicy finish.


2019: 91 points & Five Stars - Beverage Dynamics/Cheers

2018: 91 points - Los Angeles Invitational Wine Competition