By now, most oenophiles know about the Primitivo-Zinfandel connection. And most would be able to sniff and sip the differences in North American zin and a dark, spicy, mildly tannic Salento wine.
So along comes a bottle that could put anyone’s blind tasting expertise and discernment to the test. California meets Puglia in “La Pisara,” a melding of identifiable New World fruit to Old World balance and earthiness.
It grabs your attention with a Calizinnious burst of dark fruit and a mouthfeel that belies its low (13%) alcohol level. Blackberries, black raspberries, even prunes in the lush, not quite jammy texture evoke all those sinful pleasures of the Left Coast. Then the acidity takes over, as well as the familiar Italian duo of figs and leather, and….hmmm, is this the Mezzogiorno? The finish challenges your cerebral compass, delivering zingy pepper and terroir-driven spiciness.
This won’t make any annual Top 100 lists, but at $13 or so, it’s an intriguing antidote to predictable Cal-Italians. Or, since it comes from across the pond, maybe it’s an Italo-Calian. More Italian wine reviews.