March 15, 1972 marked the release of The Godfather – the touchstone movie by Francis Ford Coppola. As a tribute to its 40th anniversary I went in search of more Italian-American classics to bring to a party. This is what I found.
Primitivo (Italian) and Zinfandel (American) are actually the same grape. Science proved itself useful again when DNA testing verified that just a few years ago – so I brought a Primitivo and two Zins to a party. By the way, Zinfandel is NOT your grandmother’s pink Zinfandel that she sipped with an ice-cube in the glass (although that’s perfectly acceptable behaviour if you’re a grandmother) – today’s Zinfandel is a great red wine that can be big and powerful like Don Corleone.
I have always liked the Cline Zinfandel but the Luccarelli Primitivo stole the show. Rustic and bold, everyone liked this wine that cost less than $10. The Sledgehammer was really good too – a nice combination of the more refined Cline Zin with the boldness of the Primitivo – and every bit worth the $18 price tag. However, I’ve already gone back and bought more Luccarelli simply because of the value. Let’s just say it made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse.
LUCCARELLI PRIMITIVO PUGLIA IGT
Italy | LCBO 253856 | $ 9.70
“Zin-fandel, Zin-fandel” (sung to the tune of Edelweiss). Now my wife is mad at me because she will have that song stuck in her head all day. Probably because I will keep singing it all day – a trait I inherited from my Mother.
I am in America for March Break (holy days for teachers) and I am committed to the great American grape – Zinfandel. Of course not the white Zinfandel wine that your grandmother drank – this is serious yet relatively simple red wine.
In my opinion Zin is the American wine. When I come to PA to visit my in-laws I always drink American and often drink Zin. For my Italian readers, it has been recently discovered that Zinfandel and Primitivo are the same grape – discoveries like that make DNA decoding worthwhile don’t they? Also, it’s the same grape as the Croatian grape Crljenak Kaštelansk, but seriously, when was the last time you asked for a “Crljenak” at a wine bar?
The style of Zin ranges from light Beaujolais to age-worthy Claret and in price from $6 (Barefoot Zinfandel) to $20 (Cardinal Zin). My favorite in the LCBO is Cline. Go out and get a bottle – help rid the world of white Zinfandel stereotypes and ask your favorite Croatian how to pronounce Crljenak for me.
LCBO 489278 | Price: $ 13.25