The Puglia Wine Review, July 1, 2011

In this month's Puglia Wine Review I review two Primitivo wines and a Chardonnay. The Primitivo wines were blind tasted along with a few American-made Zinfandels. It was a fun experiment, and it was east to distinguish between the two. In general, the Primitivo wines tasted more concentrated and rich with dark fruit, whereas the Zinfandels were lighter and had more spice. As always, I found the following wines in local wine shops in Portland, Oregon.

Cantina Salvalai's 2008 "Flaio" Primitivo Salento
Rating: 8.5
Price: $11.50
Where to Buy: Woodstock Wine & Deli
Short Review: Like a book of poetry, there's a lot going on for 12 bucks

This wine was the favorite of the blind tasting. It has a huge nose of cooked blackberry and it smells just the tiniest bit hot. For such a big nose, I expected this wine to be big. Instead, it was light in flavor profile (not aggressive) and balanced. It is a little hot, but this heat balances very well with the tannins and the acidity. Medium bodied. NOTE: The winery that makes this wine uses grapes grown in Puglia, but it makes the wine just outside Verona.

Cantele's 2008 "Primitivo" Puglia IGT
Rating: 4
Price: $11.50
Where to Buy: Pastaworks on Hawthorne
Short Review: Expected more

This wine had the most interesting nose of the tasting, with medium dark fruit, caramel, vanilla, nutmeg, and coriander. With all these aromas, you'd expect it to be big, but the nose was less concentrated than the Flaio. In the mouth, the flavors of the wine let me down. Mouth is full bodied, tannins across the gums, with a little dried fruit and leather. The wine tasted hot, and the heat cut through the finish, obscuring flavors.

Tormaresca's 2009 Chardonnay IGT
Rating: 2
Price: $9.79
Where to Buy: Fred Meyers (8955 SE 82nd Ave)
Short Review: I don't like to be mean...

I just want to say two things before the review. One, Tormaresca makes many wines that I like. Two, it gives me no pleasure in disliking a wine. The wine has almost no nose at all, but there's some melon. The mouth is off putting to my taste buds. Tastes of wet dog, really, and it is not very clean, especially on the finish. For the price, there are better chardonnays.


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