Wine with Lucy Jackson: Full-bodied reds are perfect for November

Melnik 55Melnik 55
Melnik 55
Full-bodied reds are the perfect wines as we move into November, it seems like no place is better right now than being cuddled up in a warm living room with a warming glass of red wine. If you are predominantly a white wine drinking and are not sure which grape is the best to make the transition to for the winter months, I would strongly recommend giving Primitivo (or as it’s known in the US) Zinfandel a try.

Known for its deep coloured skin, inky colour in the glass and jammy taste, this grape is a great wine to start with when it comes to red. It often presents a full fruit flavour which works well with slow cooked meats, bbq sauce-based dishes or anything rich with a bit of spice – perfect with a pulled pork chilli. It’s ABV usually sits quite high on the scale due to the fact it early ripens in the hot climates it’s grown in, making it not uncommon to be over 14%. It is a grape that can be quite susceptible to diseases and is easily affected by the elements the grapes must contend with in the vineyard meaning more management from the growers.

The Primitivo grape is made famous by the Puglia region in Italy where Primitivo Di Manduria is the key DOC red wine and then in the early 19th Century was introduced to the United States under the name Zinfandel as is also known as their ‘national grape’. The soil types and climates are different to each other meaning that although they are genetically the same, the flavour profiles can be quite different and oak aging lengths can also play a big part in this. White Zinfandel is also a popular pink choice but in many ways very different when it comes to its taste.

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San Marzano is a well-known wine making cooperative from the Puglia region and makes some of the best Primitivo varieties. Their Talo Primitivo Di Manduria (£17.75 RRP) and their 62 Anniversario Primitivo Di Manduria Reserva (£30.75 RRP) have always sold well and continue to be favourites in store. Branching out from their success on the shelves, we have tried to find similar styles and came across Kratoshija – a Macedonian grape with the same genetic origins as Primitivo from Italy. This variety is less likely to be oaked allowing the bursting berry flavours to come through.

Talo Primitivo Di ManduriaTalo Primitivo Di Manduria
Talo Primitivo Di Manduria

Alternatively, there is the Melnik grape from Bulgaria which has a very similar flavour profile. Melnik 55 is a delicious wine available from Wines by the Sea or (£16.90 RRP) which has been aged in French oak for 12 months and includes black cherries, sweet spices and vanilla. Perfect with red meats, charcuterie and hard cheeses.

Lucy Jackson is owner of Wines By The Sea. Call (023) 9229 3322, or email [email protected]

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