Wine of the Week: 2020 Masseria Li Veli “Orion” Primitivo

   Italy’s primitivo, according to DNA analysis, is the same grape as zinfandel, and much of the Italian stuff is grown in Puglia, the “heel” of the Italian “boot.” That’s where this Li Veli Orion hails from.

   Italian primitivo fell out of favor for a time, but it’s gained new popularity. The Puglia versions tend to be less ponderous than some California zins, and most are attractively priced.

   The Li Veli primitivo is known as Orion. It’s named not for the constellation but rather for an ancient wall that runs alongside the vineyard. The wine is dark and dense, with berry fruit that’s ripe without being overbearing or pruney. It’s a full-bodied wine that’s easy to drink, with fine tannins. And it sells for $16, making it very affordable.

   Li Veli produces a number of wines, including some from obscure varieties, like the fantastic verdeca, a white. All the winery’s bottlings are worth seeking out.

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