Red wine grape planted widely in Sicily and Apulia in southern Italy, used to make medium-bodied reds. Interestingly, this (relatively) lowly grape has recently been proven (via DNA tests) to be identical to the much more appreciated Zinfandel. (This is possible as most grape vines are propagated by the use of cuttings, rather than seeds.) I have the sense that, since this news was revealed a few years back, more and more Italian wine producers are planting Primitivo.

It is in some ways odd that the kinship went unrecognized for so long, as Primitivo and Zinfandel share similar characteristics. For example, they require somewhat cooler climates in which to grow--and thus it is tough for growers to find suitable vineyard space for Primitivo in the hot, windy heel of Italy's boot. The two also ripen early, which can cause the grapes to raisin. Producers of Primitivo wines, however, often use this to their advantage, allowing some slight raisining to occur in an attempt to concentrate the grapes' flavor.

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