Big Reds, Puglia, Shops + Shows

Our Favorite Puglian Wine has Landed in the US!

Tenuta Giustini Tasting Room

Our last wine tasting trip to anywhere except the local Packie [a quaint Massachusetts term] was in 2019, when we visited Puglia, in the heel of the Italian boot. During a memorable five-day bacchanal, we visited six wineries and tasted more than 40 wines. One of our favorite wineries was Tenuta Giustini, whose young winemaker Salvatore Papadopoli poured nine (!) wines for us. Three of the bottles were sold in the US but sadly, our favorite wine, Acinore, a gorgeous 2017 Primitivo [cousin of Zinfandel] made from 50+ year old vines, was not shipped overseas. Lisa called it “silky smooth and seductive” and Gary said it displayed “great finesse, straddling the old and new world palates.” The winery assured us they were ramping up distribution and the Acinore would soon come to the United States.

For three years, Gary scoured the wine mags. and online distributors in hopes of finding Acinore. We even checked with our local Italian-only wine shop and came up empty. Finally, in July 2022 Gary struck Italian gold. Scrolling through Wine Searcher he found the 2018 Acinore in Massachusetts…at The Vineyard, a family-owned wine shop located in a Stop + Shop in North Andover, Mass. [And what a genius to have nabbed the URL TheVineyard.com ahead of the big guys!] In 24 hours, Gary had contacted the owner, reserved a case [$30/bottle], and drove up to the shop.

At first pour we were transported back to that special on-site tasting. The 2018 Acinore was everything we remembered of the earlier vintage. A gorgeous, deep purple color; notes of toasty oak and tobacco on the nose; and flavors of ripe cherries with a hint of vanilla on the finish. Full mouth feel, silky smooth tannins and a long finish. We paired it with lamb chops and burgers and toasted our good fortune in finding this well-crafted wine so close to home. The next night it beautifully complemented Gary’s home-made pizza.

For $30, we would put this Primitivo up against the top California Zinfandels at twice the price. If you live in eastern Mass., call The Vineyard at (978) 688-5005 and ask for the Acinore. Tell them VinoDuo sent you.

The Vineyard
57 Turnpike St., Inside the Stop & Shop Supermarket
North Andover, MA 01845

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