Godfather Part II: A Preview of #ItalianFWT and a Comparison of Miraflores Primitivo and Zinfandel

Miraflores Zinfandel and Primitivo

Primitivo and Zinfandel.  I’ve long been a fan of zinfandel, having cut my wine teeth at Ridge when I worked in the tasting room on Montebello Road,

But I first explored the differences by comparing and contrasting on of each from Sobon many years ago which you can read here.

I knew they were supposed it be one and the same, two sides of a coin, kissing cousins, clones even,  but I learned then, and found again now, that they are very different on the palate– as different as two clones of Pinot Noir can be.

This November, Sue and I are leading the Italian FWT group in an exploration of Primitivo by asking”IS Primitivo The Godfather of Zinfandel? Here’s the invitation. For the November event, participants can go in a number of directions:

  • write about Primitivo from Italy,
  • compare and contrast Primitivo from Italy with Primitivo from the US,
  • compare and contrast Primitivo with Zinfandel from Italy

Sue suggested that we recall The Godfather movies, and call the invite post Godfather I, this preview post Godfather II, and the post itself Godfather III. It had been a long time since I’d seen the movies in the theater (or possibly VHS rentals?) and while friends read the book when we were in junior high and high school, it seemed far too violent to me. Even just watching the trailers it’s violent! I’d planned to rewatch the movies but here it is in the eleventh hour and it still hasn’t happened. Unlike many of my friends, COVID hasn’t meant I’ve been doing a lot of binge-watching. Binge drinking in order to binge blog perhaps, but the only binge watching that has happened was The Umbrella Academy and that was because I broke my wrist…

Like Godfather Part 1, Part 2 won a bunch of awards including best picture at the Academy Awards. So in case you forgot, here’s the trailer for Godfather II:

 

Godfather Inspired Menu

In all three of the movies, food plays an important role in character development and foreshadowing. So when I found this article in Epicurious with all the recipes from The Godfather, we used this to develop our menu.

  • Italian cheeses
  • Caprese Salad
  • Raviolis with red sauce with sausages
  • Cannoli

Wines
samples for my review consideration; thank you!

  • 2017 Miraflores Estate Zinfandel, El Dorado CA
  • 2017 Miraflores Estate Primitivo, El Dorado

Founded in 1998 by Dr. Victor Alvarez, Miraflores is located in the Sierra foothills. Today the 252 acre property is planted in 16 different grapes and the winery runs on solar energy. For the tasting room, he  collected pieces from his travels all over the world, including wooden beams salvaged from the Oakland Ferry Building torn down in 1936.

We chose these wines because we really wanted to compare the two grapes, so having the same AVA and the same winemaker would allow us to suss out similarities and differences. We also wrote about Miraflores here in Rhone Roam 1 which looked at two wines inspired by the Rhone region of France.

While different, both are great food wines and with our meal tonight it was difficult to say which went better with each course. Salad was perfection with both of our wines.

2017 Miraflores Estate Zinfandel, El Dorado CA
ABV 14.9%; SRP $30
97% 
zinfandel, 3% Petite Sirah 

  • Grown on well drained decomposed granite at 2,200′ elevation.
  • Head trained, low yielding.
  • 18 months in French and American oak; 15% new

Color: Very pretty, bright ruby, the color looks very bright, very young on the pink side.

Nose: Rose petal, carnation, spice, anise, fruit and baking spices, blackberry

Palate: Chalky tannins, Mexican chocolate, cherry fruit, raspberry, pomegranate.

Pairing: The complexity of the LaTur cheese brings out more complexity in the wine. Mouthwatering with the parmesan regiano. Basil asiago is amazing with the wine. Fantastic with the pasta.

Miraflores Primitivo

2017 Miraflores Estate Primitivo, El Dorado
ABV 14.7% ; SRP $34
100% 
Zinfandel “Primitivo” clone
only 99 cases produced 

Color: The color is so similar to the zin, ruby garnet.

Nose: Brambleberry, fresh fruit, carnation.

Palate: Dry, super dry, clean, lots of minerals; this is more of a food driven wine instead of a sipping wine. Musky earthy, rose petals, tart raspberry, structured.

Pairing:  Fingerlicking good with the LaTur. This wine changes with food, dances with its partner, they both become so much better together. We did not have a whole lot to say about this wine before it was paired with food. Sue did not like it as well with the basil asiago as much as the pepper crusted asiago John did not find a big difference in the two once we started enjoying them with the meal. He found them equally good.

Sometimes there are nights where the wine and the food is so fabulous together that you enjoy both so much together that you forget what you needed to focus on in the beginning. Wine flows and the menu is so fantastic together that stories are evoked, and told. People begin talking about experiences and the meal, not even realizing how well the wine and the food are playing together to enhance the experience.

Here’s who is writing about what and where which we will be publishing by 8am Pacific on Saturday Nov.7, just in time for our twitter chat:

Join our twitter chat on the topic on Saturday Nov. 7 at 8am Pacific.

Questions for #ItalianFWT Twitter Chat:
Primitivo Nov. 7, 2020

8/11:00 am

Q1. Welcome to the Italian Food Wine & Travel group chat! Today we’re discussing Primitivo wines from Italy. Introduce yourself, and tell us where you are from. Share a link to your blog, too. #ItalianFWT

8/11:05 am

Q2. Today we ask “Is Primitivo the Godfather of Zinfandel?” Primitivo is grown in several wine regions in Italy as well as in other parts of the world, as is Zinfandel. How familiar were you with Primitivo before this? How about Zin? #ItalianFWT

8/11:10 am

Q3. So is Primitivo the Godfather of Zin? Or vice versa? Genetically Primitivo and Zinfandel are so similar it took DNA fingerprinting to find they are both clones of a Croatian grape called Crljenak. Was this new info to you? Observations? #ItalianFWT

8/11:15 am

Q4.  So knowing that Primitivo and Zinfandel are so similar it took DNA fingerprinting to find they are both clones of a Croatian grape, do you find them similar in character? Observations? #ItalianFWT

8/11:20 am

Q5. Zinfandel and Primitivo can be enjoyed dry, sweet, or as rose. Tell us about the style of wine(s) you chose. Is there anything unique about the producer that you chose or the process in which they produce their Primitivo or Zinfandel?  #ItalianFWT

8/11:25 am

Q6. Tell us more about the wine(s) you chose.  Where does this Primitivo come from and why did you choose it?  Share a link to your blog post please! #ItalianFWT

8/11:30 am

Q7. What about the region? Are you familiar with its winemaking traditions, producers, styles of wine, or cultural highlights and places to visit? What did you learn? #ItalianFWT

8/11:35 am

Q8. Did you pair your Primitivo with food?  Did you go traditional Italian or something else? Please share pictures and tell us all about it.  #ItalianFWT

8/11:40 am
Q9. In the Godfather, Clemenza says: ”Leave the gun – take the cannoli.” Food is an important aspect of Italian culture. What is the local cuisine like where your wine hails from? How might it pair with Primitivo? #ItalianFWT

8/11:45 am

Q10. How would you best describe the differences between Zinfandel and Primitivo to people who are not familiar with them? #ItalianFWT

8/11:50 am

Q11. While Zinfandel is well known, especially in California, Primitivo is less known. Have you tried a Primitivo from the US? Have you compared with one from Italy? Observations?#ItalianFWT

8/11:55 am

Q12. In the Godfather films, family is paramount. With Thanksgiving coming up, would you pair Primitivo or Zinfandel with your family feast? Why or why not? #ItalianFWT

8/12:00 pm

Thanks so much for joining the #ItalianFWT chat today. Join us in December as we discuss Italian Sparkling wines. https://culinary-adventures-with-cam.blogspot.com/2020/11/youre-invited-exploration-of-italian.html Until then, stay safe and healthy!

 

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