The red grape variety comes from Croatia. Morellone, Primaticcio, Primativo, Primitivo, Primitivo di Gioia, Uva di Corato, Zagarese are grouped by country. Italy ); Crljenac Kaštelanski, Crljenak Kaštelanski, Pribidrag, Trebidrag ( Croatia ); Grakošija, Gratošija, Krakošija, Kratkošica, Kratkošija, Kratkošija Crna, Kratošija, Kratošijo ( Montenegro ); Zinfandel ( United States ). It may, despite seemingly suggestive synonyms or morphological Similarities do not match the varieties Blatina Crljenak Crni, Plavac Mali or Vranac be confused. According to the two Californian scientists Dr. Carole Meredith and John Bowers performed DNA analysis at the University of California In cooperation with Croatian and Italian vine specialists from 1994 to 2011, the decades of unclear identity were clarified:
The Croatian Tribidrag (in older sources still Crljenak Kaštelanski ), the Italian Primitivo , the Californian Zinfandel and the Montenegrin Kratošija are genetically (almost) equal. The variety is therefore also referred to as ZPC = Zinfandel / Primitivo / Crljenak Kaštelanski. Primitivo and Tribidrag / Zinfandel are not 100% identical according to DNA analysis, but are considered one vine, According to the ampelographic rule, a variety is named after the oldest name used, which is why in the Rebsortenbibel " Wine Grapes "The name already mentioned in the 15th century Tribidrag proposed. The varieties have been in the last 200 years Maturity date, Susceptibility to disease and taste developed slightly differently. Zinfandel has a story of its own in the USA, so there is a specific cue for it.
The earliest mention of Primitivo was in 1799 by the priest and amateur botanist Francesco Filippo Indellicati (1767-1831) from the municipality of Gioia del Colle (Bari province) in the region Apulia, He discovered the rare vine in his vineyard. He noticed her early maturity at the end of August (which was true for the then Primitivo clone), which is why he coined the name "Primativo" or "Primaticcio" from the Latin word "primitivus" for "first maturing". It was then named Zagarese (supposedly after the Croatian city of Zagreb). Indellicati planted the vine near his home town, from where it spread to other Apulian areas until 1820. But it was only around 1860 that today's name Primitivo prevailed.
On a trip to Apulia in 1967, the US plant pathologist Austin Goheen noticed the similarity of Primitivo wine with Zinfandel wine. He brought primitivo vines to the US for comparison. On the basis of his purely external criteria, he suggested that Primitivo could be identical to the variety Zinfandel. He sent the vines to the University of California at Davis for more detailed analysis where they were planted. There, the student Wade Wolf then in the year 1975 by Isozyme analyzes very similar patterns found (DNA analyzes were not there at that time). This was perceived in public as a match and led to the beginning of the "battle over Zinfandel". Because in the US, one did not want to admit that the Zinfandel cultivar "Uramerican" should not be independent.
Already in the 18th century, an origin of Primitivo from Dalmatia (Croatia) was suspected in Italy. In the mid-1970s Austin Goheen contacted Prof. Franco Lamberti at the University of Bari, who had visited Croatian vineyards with Prof. Ana Sarić from the University of Zagreb. There, Lamberti had great similarities between Croatian varieties called Plavac Mali and Plavina detected with Primitivo. Goheen then received Plavac Mali vines from Sarić in 1979 and found by isozyme analysis that the two varieties are not identical. Nevertheless, the rumor of a coincidence spread and was also nourished by Croatian producers who wanted to market their wines in the US under Zinfandel. In 1985, the BATF prohibited the use of the name Zinfandel. The well-known Croatian winemaker Miljenko "Mike" Grgich (* 1923) suggested therefore to make more detailed investigations.
Carole Meredith and colleagues had noted as early as 1994, the equality of Primitivo and Zinfandel (this had the consequence that from 1999, the EU officially allowed the synonym Zinfandel for Primitivo, the objection by the competent US authority BATF was rejected). Now, the Plavac-Mali question should be clarified. From 1998, about 150 vines of this variety were sent from Croatia to Meredith in California. In 2000, DNA analyzes showed that Plavac Mali is a direct descendant of Primitivo / Zinfandel. And four years later, the Croatian grape specialist Ivan Pejić and Edi Maletić of the University of Zagreb became the second parent Dobričić determined. Finally, in 2007 in Croatia it was found that the variety Plavina a cross between the Apulian Verdeca x Primitivo / Zinfandel comes from. More close Parent-offspring relationships between at least four Croatian varieties and Primitivo / Zinfandel confirmed conclusively the Croatian origin.
In 2000, the identity of the Croatian Ursorte was not yet clarified. Although a descendant (Plavac Mali) was known, the vine in question (as a parent next to the later identified Dobričić) had not yet been found. If the variety actually came from here, it should still be vines as the ultimate proof. Of course, the variety could already be extinct. Ivan Pejić and Edi Maletić repeatedly sent eligible vines to California found in old Dalmatian vineyards. Finally, in December 2001, success was finally achieved when an unknown vine was found in an old vineyard owned by winemaker Ivica Radunic in Kastel Novi near Split. After the locality she was given the name Crljenak Kaštelanski (Red of Kaštela). The DNA profile was identical to Primitivo / Zinfandel. Later, one found another nine vines.
In 2002, a genetically identical vine named Pribidrag was discovered in the garden of an old lady in the municipality of Svinisće near Omis, south of Split. And also in Montenegro Vine grown under the name Kratošija was recognized as identical in 2008. In 2006, in a vineyard on the Badische Bergstraße in Germany the variety distributed earlier here Blue Scheuchner recovered. It is believed that it is Tribidrag, but DNA analysis has not yet taken place. The grand finale came in 2011, when Ivan Pejić and Edi Maletić identified the ancient Croatian variety Tribidrag, which had been cultivated in the region of Split as early as the 15th century. By the way, this name means "early maturation" as with Primitivo. The riddle of the variety / n was finally solved.
As already mentioned, Primitivo (Italy) is morphologically slightly different from the more similar Tribidrag (Croatia) and Zinfandel (California). Primitivo ripens earlier, is more productive (but smaller berries) and less prone to Botrytis, The vine yields dark-colored, spicy, alcohol-rich red wines with aromas cinnamon, Mint, chocolate. cloves. pepper, Black cherries, blackberries and raspberries. In Italy A total of 12,234 hectares were designated as Primitivo in 2010. Here she is mainly in Apulia grown where they get the three DOC red wines Falerno del Massico. Gioia del Colle and Primitivo di Manduria is allowed. In Croatia the variety was almost extinct. Since the declaration of identity there is a certain boom; in 2010, 65 hectares were designated. There are other small stocks in Europe France (in Languedoc under Zinfandel), Montenegro (under the name Kratkošija) and Northern Macedonia,
In the United States A total of 19,857 hectares were listed as rising under the common name Zinfandel in 2010 (ten years earlier it was 18,630 hectares). By far the largest part of it is located at around 19,000 hectares in California (see the historical information regarding the introduction in the US at Zinfandel ). With smaller quantities almost exclusively under Zinfandel she was also in 2010 in Australia (149 ha), Chile (58 ha), Israel. Canada (8 ha), Mexico. New Zealand (4 ha), South Africa (34 ha) and Tunisia (337 ha). The variety occupied under their various names in 2010 a total of 32,745 hectares of vineyards. It is thus worldwide varieties ranking on the 29th rank.
Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012
Pictures: Ursula Bruehl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)