A Wine Worth Knowing: Fatalone Primitivo Riserva 2019

Here’s a wine you should know about: Fatalone Primitivo Riserva 2019.

Azienda Agricola Petrera Pasquale is the official name of the winery, but “Fatalone,” the brand name, is what you’ll see front and center on the bottle. This small family-owned winery, now run by the fifth generation, is located in the Gioia del Colle DOC of Puglia in southern Italy, not far from the Adriatic and Ionian Seas.

I visited the winery earlier this year and was impressed not only by the refined quality of the wine but also by the Petrera family’s dedication to the environment. Every aspect of their production is geared towards sustainability, starting with the organically-farmed vineyards and carrying through to the bottling of the wines for which the lightest bottles available on the market are used. The entire production is powered by solar energy. 

The care the Petreras take in the vineyard and winery shows in the glass, and the wines are lively expressions of Puglia’s unique environment. “We want our wine to be the most authentic expression of our grapes, our land, and our personality, in a word, our roots,” says owner/winemaker Pasquale Petrera (below).

Fatalone’s winemaking tradition dates back five generations to the late 1800s, beginning with the founder, Filippo Petrera, who sold wine in bulk, as did many other southern Italian wine producers at that time. It wasn’t until 1987, with the fourth generation, Pasquale’s father, that they began bottling the wines under their own label. 

The Fatalone name comes from Pasquale’s grandfather. Considered the Casanova of Gioia del Colle, he was called “il Fatalone,” which means “lady killer” in the local dialect. Petrera’s charm, combined with drinking a liter of Primitivo with breakfast every morning, helped him live to 98!

The winery makes a delicious white wine from the Greco grape. Still, Fatalone is best known for their red wines made from Primitivo, especially the Riserva, which has been featured in many high-profile reviews and books. In The World Atlas of Wine, leading wine critics Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson count the Riserva as one of southern Italy's four most representative wines and “one of Puglia’s most consistently complex Primitivos.”

The wine is aged for 12 months in stainless steel tanks, 12 months in large Slavonian oak casks and 6 months in bottle.

Fatalone’s Primitivo Riserva 2019 is a deep, ruby-hued wine, dense and full-bodied with floral and ripe dark fruit notes and an underlying herbal character, most notably mint. The rich fruit is balanced by the correct level of acidity, making the wine easy to pair with many foods. I tasted it alongside an assortment of flavorful cheeses, meats, bread, and assorted antipasti, but it would also go well with grilled or braised meats and pasta Bolognese.

Find this terrific wine at Astor Wines for $28.96.

Visit the Fatalone website to learn more about this unique winery.

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