Booze Review: Primitivo by Grifone

Is it just me, or does it feel like everyone inherently knows about wine? How do people (read: suburban soccer moms) know to choose Chardonnay over Pinot Grigio? What is a “cab” and what is the “sauv” sounding word that comes with it? For a long time I just knew the basics: red wines pair well with red meats, white wines pair well with white meat, and box wines pair well with break ups.

Turns out there are more than just the six to eight common wine types we’ve heard about. Through this blog series, I’ll taste unique wines that fall in the same price range as their more popular cousins, and share with you what they’d be paired best with. Look at that: you have someone doing your homework for you.

Today we’re sipping the varietal Primitivo made by Grifone in Italy. If you’re a fan of Zinfandel, switch out your bottom shelf go-to from the grocery store and head to Trader Joe’s to pick up this $5 bottle. That’s because the grapes used to make Primitvo come from Zinfandel vines in Italy that are over 70 years old, making this wine Zinf’s old Italian grandpa that everyone loves.


This is a “slightly off dry” red, which is just the official way of saying it’s on the sweeter side of wines with out classifying it as a drink for dessert. Primitivo tastes so much like strawberries and red candies that I’d say this was just an adult Capri Sun. And because the wine’s tannins, acids, and alcohol levels are well balanced this goes down smooth—no wincing or gagging expressions post sip.

Since it’s easy to drink, Primitivo doesn’t need food to help it out, which means you can throw this in a glass—or red solo cup—take it to your porch and gossip about the day with some 2009 Katy Perry playing in the background. Or throw it in a tumbler and pretend to have your life together at your nephew’s 5th birthday.

If you’re the type that has to have this with food, know that it pairs well with almost anything: cheese, chips, burgers, pasta—just be sure to avoid white sauces. The versatility makes this your ace of spades if you’re trying to impress the in-laws over dinner.

All in all, if you don’t like wine: this is the approachable gateway wine for you.

Happy sipping, or chugging, and happy larking!