Amanti del Vino Primitivo, Salento, Puglia, Italy 2017 (£6.95, Adnams; Tanners Wines) Few grape varieties have been subject to the level of scrutiny of its origins than Puglia’s primitivo has. Ampelographers – botanists who identify and classify grape vines – have spent years attempting to untangle its roots, discovering first that it was one and the same as that Californian speciality, zinfandel, and, more recently, that it has its roots somewhere in the Balkans where it is known variously as tribidrag, pribidrag, crljenak and kratosija. You won’t find many wines labelled with the latter in the UK, but Italian primitivo is arguably more popular here even than Californian zinfandel, thanks to its ability to provide big flavour for relatively small prices. Such is certainly the case with Amanti del Vino, a soft, juicy burst of dark plum and prune to glug with rich pasta sauces.

Notte Rossa Primitivo di Manduria, Puglia, Italy 2016 (£11, Marks & Spencer) Much of primitivo’s charm lies in its uninhibited warming fullness – like a time-travelling message in a bottle from sunnier climes when the nights have drawn in. There’s often a touch of sweetness (residual sugar will often top 10g per litre in primitivo; a classic dry red, by comparison, will have 1 to 2g). And there’s biggish alcohol, too, around 14%, and sometimes topping 15%. This means it can be sipped very happily as a port stand-in while you’re nibbling dark chocolate or, my personal preference,…

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