To clarify right at the beginning: Primitivo does not derive from "primitive" but from "prima" which means "early", since this high-quality red wine vine has a rather early harvest time. It has the same roots as the Californian Zinfandel, they probably descended from the Croatian grape called Crljenak. Many an Italian winemaker therefore also uses the name Zinfandel for his label.
ThePrimitivo is undoubtedly the star among the native (= autochthonous) red grape varieties of Apulia today. Their incredible upswing began in the late 1990s, when these wines conquered the Central European market with their opulent, intense and fruity character. Stylistically, the wines are mostly in the semi-dry range, which gives them a decidedly round taste profile and thus increases their attractiveness for many wine connoisseurs who tend to reject acidity and tannins. The Primitivo produces smooth wines that impress with their full-bodied taste. The Primitivo di Puglia is an IGT wine with mostly very good value for money, the Primitivo di Salento is more concentrated and intense, and the Primitivo is of even higher quality di Manduria, which has DOC status. Here, too, the narrower the definition of origin, the higher the supposed quality. The best wines are then often given the addition "Riserva" if they have been stored in barrels for a long time. This top category of Primtitivo wines can then be left in the cellar for a few years, while the simpler variants usually taste best when they are young, in their fruit phase. In addition to the red wines, fresh rosé or rosato wines from Primitivo have recently become increasingly popular.
The most successful wines of this variety are often produced by offshoots of the large northern Italian wineries, which have influenced viticulture in the south of the country with modern production methods and oenological know-how.
In California, the Zinfandel is mostly responsible for the strongest and most alcoholic red wines, some of which are of very high quality. In addition, large quantities of slightly sweet rosé wine are made from it, which is marketed under the name "White Zinfandel".