Uvaggio Primitivo 2011 Review

Uvaggio Primitivo Review, Red Wine from Lodi, California

Vintage: 2011

Uvaggio crafts a scrumptious wine from the Primitivo grape which has been around for thousands of years. Likely native to Croatia, Primitivo is now most famous for growing in Apulia, Italy, where it has been grown since the 18th century. Primitivo has some differences to Zinfandel, though is genetically alike.

Winemaker Jim Moore at Uvaggio explained it to me as follows:

“They share the same DNA (but then so do all dogs).  Think of it as a slightly more subtle differentiation than exists within the Pinot family (noir, gris, blanc, etc).  

While the leaf shape is virtually indistinguishable from Zin, the cluster morphology is quite different (more kidney shaped than conical, smaller in overall size, smaller and fewer wings, smaller and more uniform berries, more even and earlier ripening).”

I’m a big fan of New World takes on ancient grape varieties, and Uvaggio seems to have found the appropriate terroir in Lodi, California for it to thrive. The climate is mediterranean in Lodi, not unlike how it is and has been in Apulia where this grape continues to flourish.

As Primitivo ripens earlier than most other red wine grape varieties, it matures at a lower sugar concentration, yielding a less “loud” and less alcoholic final wine product. Primitivo is a very well balanced fruit forward treat.

Uvaggio Primitivo Tasting NotesUvaggio Primitivo Tasting Notes

In the glass, the Uvaggio Primitivo doesn’t pack much translucency, but a rather sexy black cherry hue indicating solid depth.

On the nose, aromatic hints of cassis and strawberry with bits of forest floor after a rain. Medium-bodied, the opening palate is fun. Abundant but soft tannins, strawberry crumb cake and crushed dried violet with leather sit on the tongue.

This wine stays SUPERBLY balanced through the mid-palate (I don’t usually get that excited, but balance is important to me). More hints of earth, white spice and dried clay minerals poke through here adding a slight rustic feel to the wine.

This Primitivo maintains its balance through the end, with notes of black cherry, ripe blackberry, mellow acid and fine astringency. The finish is medium-long.

Food Pairings for the Uvaggio Primitivo

The balance across the palate with this wine really makes for an endless combination of food pairings. We (and Uvaggio), recommend classic American dishes along with a night in watching Netflix.

Pizza of any kind (I just like cheese here), avocado hamburger, rigatoni with alfredo sauce, honey-glazed chicken wings or grilled quail.

Uvaggio also recommends that any Mediterranean style dish should be sampled along with the Primitivo, as the Mediterranean regions throughout Europe are where this grape got its personality.

Where to Buy Uvaggio Primitivo

Supplies of the 2011 vintage may begin to run low over the next few months. I received my order through the WineAwesomeness wine club and it’s priced around while supplies last. This link will get you your first month free (3 bottles of wine) – just pay shipping.


Very happy with this wine. I’ve come across Zin’s before that pack similar notes on the front end, but no where near the balance and elegance that the Uvaggio Primitivo has throughout. This is one of those wines that has the potential to gain some real traction across Lodi and other regions along the Central Coast. I love how this Primitivo is medium-bodied but richly complex.  It makes for an excellent solo-drinker or food pairing wine.

Our Score

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