In Vino Veritas: Matane Primitivo 2010
By: Bianca Blanca Rioja, February 14, 2012
BIANCA BLANCA RIOJA - Born to humble grape harvesters in an oak barrel outside of Barcelona, Bianca has traveled the world performing flamenco and sampling the fruits of Bacchus' labor. While no wine is too complicated or indulgent for her, Bianca specializes in big flavor with small price tag. Vino es pasión!
As the stars start popping out over Main Street Falmouth, a twinkle catches me from across the street. Osteria La Civetta winks invitingly.
I confess, I have been here before, and I’ll keep coming back. I choose my usual back corner of the bar and let the low lights massage my weary eyes while the charming bartender pours me a glass of Matane Primitivo 2010.
That Italian red itch
As a wine devotee, not just any glass of chianti will scratch that Italian red itch. Nothing is worse than great food paired with an oxidized wine that is a week away from vinegar. But no wine at La Civetta would fall victim to that kind of treatment.
A glass of primitivo is exactly what the therapist ordered. These short sunny days and dark windy nights require a red wine that is about bright texture with bold fruity tones.
For an occasional glass, a red zinfandel is fine by me, but after a long day I want to have a conversation with the wine. I want to get it know it a little better.
What most people don’t realize is that red zin and primitivo are genetically the same grape. Primitivo, however, has benefited from centuries-old growing traditions in Italy. Its ancient vines add a richness of soil and depth of flavor that play up the innate qualities of the grape.
Wouldn’t you rather have a conversation with a seasoned, suntanned gentleman than a hot-to-trot Italian stallion?
While there really is no circumstance when low quality wine is acceptable, a person doesn’t have to rob banks to support a decent wine habit. Good wine does not equal expensive wine or vice versa. This generous glass of Matane Primitivo costs $8 per glass or $30 per bottle; in retail it's even more affordable.
To wine's coy mistress
As I bring the giant glass up to the light, the dark magenta allows a small amount crimson light to reflect, like an ancient stained glass window. I swish the glass to allow air fold in gently. The lively legs coyly retreating back to the center of the glass are a flirtatious reminder that this young wine is perky.
I finally stick my nose all the way into the glass and inhale deeply. The risk of embarrassment is well worth the peppery chocolate mossy nose. It might look silly, but the nose is more sensitive than the palate. Taking in these aromas before sipping adds to the overall taste of the wine in your mouth.
Now, it's time to take a sip.
The Matane passes my lips and engulfs my palate like broad waves at high tide’s approach. It expands to the entire width of my mouth, as the wildflower notes rise up and reach my nasal passage, a playfully feminine and delicate. Sweet hints of cherry and plum balance the round tannins, providing fun fruity notes and elegant delivery.
The second phase of the sip is smooth like a merlot, but livelier. As I swallow this nectar, its smoke and warmth leaves a lasting impression. Without any dryness or acidity in the finish, the Matane Primitivo lets you salivate until the next nurturing sip.
Paired with a simple cheese plate, my taste buds are awakened, fetching more out of every drop.
Wine drinking at Osteria La Civetta is a complete sensory experience. Once you’re done reading this, the secret will be out. The small tiled bar may be filled on my next trip. That’s all right though. There’s plenty of excellent vino to go around.