Wednesday, September 7, 2011

As Primitive as Disco

All of you Hungarian vino history experts can tune out the next couple of sentences. 

Everyone else, raise your hand if you drink zinfandel.  Do you ever ask yourself where this delicious, jammy concoction comes from?  Like most of the grapes that get turned into wine, zinfandel has siblings, more commonly known as clones.  One clone of zinfandel is primitivo.  Primitivo is similar to zinfandel and is popular in the Puglia region of Italy (the "heel of the boot," if you were wondering).  It is thought to have originated in Hungary and than made it's way to Italy.

Now that you're all a little smarter, lets move on to this week's wine, which was a 2008 Primitivo by Feudi di San Marzano.  This is their ICG label that goes under the SUD moniker.  With enough fruit to keep all you zinheads out there happy, it was a fun little wine with a nice price tag at about $10.00 a bottle.

The wine seemed to pair well with our music.  What kind of music did we spin this week?  Get ready for a surprise.  Disco.  Nu-disco, to be artistically correct.  Now, don't think disco duck or falsetto-filled anthems like those of The Bee Gees.  This was a tasteful CD by the nu-disco band Fitz and the Tantrums, entitled "Pickin' Up The Pieces."  It really showcased more of a classic sound similar to Gloria Gaynor or The Jackson Five.  We hope this music can pick up some more air time as it is a fresh sound that leaves you feeling nostalgic and audibly satisfied.

Nick's Review

Audio -

Everyone, think about your favorite playlist.  I bet it was a "feel-good" mix, most likely created to make you feel better as the end of summer was rolling in, or for a long car trip you took when you were twenty-one.  Maybe it was the soundtrack for your drinking games in college.  I'm willing to bet most of our readers listen to a diversified list of music, and I would bet that at least one track was performed by James Brown, Sister Sledge, Gloria Gaynor, or The Jackson Five.  Fitz and the Tantrums may just be a band to add to some of these lists.

With catchy songs like MoneyGrabber (yes, one word), L.O.V. and Rich Girls you'll want to give this album a couple spins.  Before you get turned off and possibly even throw up in your mouth at the thought of goldfish shoes, bell bottoms, disco balls and a 20-something John Travolta, be sure to give this album a fair chance.

The flashy disco nuances are quite subtle, and the hot organ, 6/8 time signatures and fun duets were really pleasant to listen to. 

I have a feeling you will be hearing Fitz and the Tantrums on the radio whether or not you're ready for a little 70's revival.


Vino - 

What's not to like about zin?  Maybe it can get really jammy, sometimes.  Maybe it can get so jammy it's like the syrupy goop left at the bottom of a smuckers jar.  Well, not to fear.  This isn't zin it's Primitivo.  Don't let me fool you, I love zin (as you could guess if you look at my favorite wines list and see that Haraszthy zin is near the top).  However, I also like subtle wines with good balance that start off as one thing and open up over time in my glass.

Feudi di San Marzano Primitivo may be more popular in it's DOC classification, but I was definitely impressed with the ICGs bang for your buck factor.  Initially I could smell violet (or some sort of flower that seemed purple in my minds' eye), a bit of tobacco and bacon fat and a touch of green.

The wine was clean and full on the pallet and eventually opened up with a bit more fruit.  After letting it sit the most pronounced tasting note was the skin of blueberries.  Not the meaty fruit inside the berry so much as the dark almost tannic flavor of the skins.

Fun wine, and I'm sure the higher classifications under this line would bring even more complexity which always brings along more intrigue.

87 pts.

Maggie's Reviews

Audio -

I'm a sucker for anything retro.  I know that retro's relatively "in" at the moment, but I'm no fair-weather retro fan.  From dragging my 17-year old-sister to antique stores, to going through an unfortunate straight-bangs phase last year, to making my husband listen to Melanie, I certainly think I was born in the wrong decade.  Seriously . . . my Netflix suggestions are Dick van Dyke and Andy Griffith.

There is, however, one decade of recent American history that turns me off.  I can appreciate the semi-gaudy cat-eye glasses and floral wallpaper of the 60's.  Big hair and leg warmers from the 80's are positively awesome.  The 70's, on the other hand, hold almost no appeal to me.  I tend to believe that the marijuana smokers and political activists of the 1960's, while enviable, created an impossible standard for the kids of the '70s.  The 70's kids got left with the more dangerous drugs, the second-rate music, and the bad pants.

Needless to say, when I embarrass myself by cranking up the retro-tunage in my car, it is never disco.  I have to disagree with my husband - I have never included James Brown, Sister Sledge, Gloria Gaynor, or The Jackson Five on any playlists.

Fitz and the Tantrums, while not my style, was a great record.  The music is creative, feel-good, and very respectably authentic.  MoneyGrabber is my personal favorite track, although the chords sound slightly ripped-off from Cyndi Lauper.  The beats and bass are catchy, and I love how the stylistic aspects (vocals, rhythms, instrumentation, and chords) were nearly identical to those of the disco period.  Even the tone quality sounded somewhat old.  It felt like we'd came home and dropped a needle to vinyl.


Vino -

When Nick compares this primitivo to zin, I can definitely see where he's coming from.  As I first sniffed this wine, I got a great sense of downplayed exoticism.  Greens, coffee, and sultry florals made me want to taste, and I had a feeling that this wine would be evolutionary.  For those that know my wine preferences, I get extremely bored when my wine tastes the same throughout the entire bottle.  I have been quoted as saying "a wine's quality can be determined by the conversation it inspires."  I was ready to talk a lot about this wine.

As I sipped, I noticed the tannic quality of the wine, and was happy that the green smell was carried from the nose to the tongue (right on the back of the palate.)  And that was all.

After a few tracks, I characteristically sipped again.  I was right: the primitivo had evolved, and was now more jammy and fruit-forward, though not at all overpowering or flowery.  The tannins were still present, giving the wine a nice, well-rounded palate.  It didn't evolve any further throughout the tasting, but it was certainly pleasant to drink.

I noticed that this wine would be great for food pairings, mainly because of the more savory notes.  I would love to try this wine again with dinner.

How did the vino pair with the audio?  Ehh . . . but both were enjoyable in their own right.  Separately.

89 pts.

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