Best Primitivo wines to drink in 2024 from Aldi to Ocado

Be transported to Italy with this bold red wine

The Evening Standard's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Siobhan Grogan1 minute ago
ES Best

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter for hot deals, best buys and expert reviews

I would like to be emailed about offers, event and updates from Evening Standard. Read our privacy notice.

A classic Italian red is always a good idea. The black-skinned Primitivo grape is grown all over southern Italy where it thrives in the hot Mediterranean climate. 

However, the best wines of the same name are generally produced in Puglia, specifically in the city of Manduria. Primitivo from this region is considered a cut above all others and has DOC status, which guarantees the wine has been made in a certain place abiding by specific rules and using traditional methods before it can be labelled Primitivo di Manduria.

Though the grape has flourished in Italy since the 18th century, it is believed to originally come from Croatia and was named Primitivo to acknowledge the early ripening of the grapes. It’s also the source of one of the biggest mysteries in the wine world, after similarities were spotted between Italian Primitivo and Zinfandel in California. These were believed to be entirely separate grapes until extensive research proved they were, in fact, genetically identical varieties.

The success of Zinfandel has led to a renewed interest in its Italian sibling, which was previously used mainly in blends with other grapes. On its own, Primitivo produces intense red wines known for their high sugar and alcohol content, powerful flavours and deep colour. They have a good structure and a long finish with pronounced notes of spice and dark red fruits. 

Needless to say, all of them go well with rustic Italian dishes like spicy tomato pasta and roasted meats but a good Primitivo can also be savoured on its own. We tested a range, from supermarkets to online shops, to find our favourites so all you need to do is pop the cork and enjoy.

Best Primitivo wines at a glance

Shop now

Doppio Passo Primitivo, IGT Salento


Best: Overall

  • ABV: 13.5 per cent
  • Year: 2021

If you’re craving Mediterranean sunshine but can’t jump on the first plane to Italy, this wine is truly the next best thing. A gloriously deep red in the glass, it’s made using the ‘ripasso’ style of winemaking, which involves a second fermentation on the pulp and skins left over from the first fermentation for added body.

Beautifully aromatic, the wine also includes later harvested, super ripe grapes in the blend to give it a moreish jamminess with a hint of sweetness that makes it oh-so-easy drinking. A velvety texture, soft tannins and bright cherry and blackberry flavours with a touch of chocolate make for truly sophisticated sipping. A near-perfect Primitivo in other words.

Buy now£10.49, Adnams

Tesco Finest Primitivo Terre Di Chieti


Best: Bottle that looks more expensive than it is

  • ABV: 14 per cent
  • Year: 2022

This is a great supermarket find. Made from grapes grown overlooking the Adriatic coast in the sunny Abruzzo region, this full-bodied red packs a real punch on the palate.

It’s astonishingly easy to drink and brims with fruity flavours, all with a delicious undercurrent of spice to add savouriness. That means it works particularly well with rich meaty dishes like lasagne, but it will also slip down a treat alongside a shepherd’s pie. We’ll definitely be adding a bottle to our basket next time we’re in the wine aisle.

Buy now£7.75, Tesco

Tarantino Primitivo Segnavento, Pervini 2021


Best: Food-friendly Primitivo

  • ABV: 13.5 per cent
  • Year: 2021

If you’re looking for the ultimate go-with-anything red, you won’t go far wrong with a bottle of this stashed on your wine rack. It’s made by Gregory Perucci, who inherited a bulk wine business from his father shipping Primitivo grapes elsewhere to be mixed with other wines but decided to start bottling and selling the best himself instead. 

A medium-bodied wine with a little less sweetness than some other Primitivos, it still has a lip-smacking juiciness from ripe blackberry flavours and a refreshing finish. It’s meaty enough to go with almost any food you fancy from Bolognese to burgers, yet won’t overpower more delicate dishes like grilled vegetables and risotto. Bring it to a dinner party and it will go down a storm.

Buy now£9.50, The Wine Society

Dominic Hentall Terra Calda Primitivo 2021

Dominic Hentall

Best: Big red 

  • ABV: 14.5 per cent
  • Year: 2021

This one isn’t for the faint-hearted. A sumptuous red that will blow your socks off (in the best possible way), this wine is made by Dominic Hentall who has been producing an old-vine Primitivo in Puglia for many years. This is his stand-out bottle, made using the finest barrels available with the best parcels of grapes in the region. 

It’s a joy just to look at in the glass, with a deep ruby colour and intensely fruity nose that benefits from being allowed to breathe for an hour or two before drinking. It’s deliciously complex on the palate with a rush of dark fruit and rich peppery spice. A creamy oakiness, smooth vanilla notes and lifting acidity add balance and mean this red can handle itself against a rich beef stew or even a piled-high platter of charcuterie for a heavenly night in.

Buy now£11.99, Naked Wines

Pillastro Primitivo


Best: Primitivo for pasta 

  • ABV: 13.5 per cent
  • Year: 2022

We were smitten after just one sip of this smooth-as-silk red that will bowl you over with its rich fruit flavours and warming vanilla.

It’s produced by local hero Angelo Maci, who set up a grower’s union in Puglia to allow smaller producers to thrive over 30 years ago. The union now has over 1000 growers who preserve ancient traditions and grape varieties and have put this region of Italy back on the wine-making map. This one is an outstanding example of Primitivo with dark spicy plum notes offset by juicy raspberry flavours that will have you reaching for a second glass every time. Serve it with a big bowl of tomato pasta and you can (almost) believe you’re in a candle-lit bistro in Puglia.

Buy now£12.99, Laithwaites

Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Zinfandel


Best: Californian alternative 

  • ABV: 14.5 per cent
  • Year: 2022

We couldn’t list our favourite Primitivo wines without slipping in its Californian cousin. This one is made by a small family-owned estate that was bought by San Francisco lawyer Jess Jackson in 1974 as a weekend getaway. It went on to produce America’s most popular Chardonnay which was even served at the White House during Reagan’s presidency. 

The winery is still going strong and this Zinfandel is made using specially selected grapes grown in cool, coastal vineyards, then aged for eight months in French and American oak. It’s a touch fruitier than its Italian counterpart, with masses of raspberry, blackberry and plum flavours plus an unmistakable hit of vanilla and chocolate with a chalky finish. A true delight to drink.

Buy now£18.48, Amazon

Baciato Primitivo 2022


Best: To store for later 

  • ABV: 13 per cent
  • Year: 2022

If you can bear to hold off opening the bottle straight away, this wine will only get better as it ages. Drinkable to the end of 2032, it would be a dream asset to any wine cellar but for the less patient among us, it’s also perfect to drink right now.

Full-bodied and fruit-forward, it’s made by Umberto Menini who is the son of a Tuscan winemaker and has produced his own exceptional wine for over 40 years. He’s now one of the most respected winemakers in Italy and even lectures on organic methods of production. Aromatic and complex, the Primitivo is full of autumnal notes of plum and bramble with a nod to nutmeg on the finish that’s guaranteed to leave you wanting more.

Buy now£10.99, Virgin Wines

Terra Organica Primitivo

Terra Organica

Best: Organic Primitivo

  • ABV: 14.5 per cent
  • Year: 2022

Choose a wine that’s better for you and the planet with this award-winning organic, vegan and sustainably made red. It’s produced without weedkillers, synthetic fertilisers or insecticides which some fans claim eliminates any chance of a morning-after headache the next day. Though we can’t vouch for that, we loved the fact that it comes in a lighter-weight bottle without a cork capsule to cut unnecessary packaging.

Luckily, there’s no skimping on flavour. Super-smooth and full-bodied, this is one powerful wine, with layers of prune, blackberry and dark chocolate flavours and a rich complexity from oak ageing. Trust us, it’s made to make a cheeseboard sing.

Buy now£9, Amazon

Castellore Italian Primitivo


Best: Budget Primitivo  

  • ABV: 13.5 per cent
  • Year: 2022

It’s a tough call but we reckon this is one of the best bargain red wines money can buy. At just over six quid, you might expect to end up with glorified cooking wine, yet this Aldi Primitivo is seriously impressive.

A rich and fruity red with a medium body, it doesn’t shy away from in-your-face berry flavours and moody spices. A fresh acidity and strong tannins add balance and make this wine far more complex than it should be for the money – we actually double-checked we were tasting the right bottle. Give us this and a big bowl of spaghetti Bolognese and we couldn’t ask for anything more. 

Buy now£6.29, Aldi

M&S Primitivo Puglia


Best: Primitivo with pizza

  • ABV: 14 per cent
  • Year: 2022

There are few better matches than a good bottle of red and a piping hot pizza. Whether you prefer a classic margarita or a spicy pepperoni, this wine will make everything taste better.

It’s a gentler drop than some of the other Primitivos we tested, with a hint of sweetness that cuts through the bite of a tomato sauce. Flavours of Morello cherries and blackberries fade to reveal a lingering hint of chocolate and a touch of spicy oak for depth. You’ll be ordering that pizza before you’ve finished the first mouthful.

Buy now£9, Ocado

Dino Primitivo


Best: weekday red 

  • ABV: 13.5 per cent
  • Year: 2021

Can’t wait til the weekend to crack open a good red? There’s no need to hold off with this fantastically priced wine from Tesco, which has all the intensity of a more expensive bottle yet won’t make you flinch when you get to the checkout.

Full-bodied with a long finish, it gives fruits of the forest in the glass with pops of blackberries and cherries in every mouthful. An earthy spiciness adds depth and lends the wine a wintry feel making it ideal for curling up in front of a fire with someone and sharing the whole bottle. And at this price, you won’t even regret it in the morning.

Buy now£6.75, Tesco


You can’t go wrong if you reach for a Primitivo when you fancy a powerful, fruity red, especially alongside Italian food. Smooth and easy drinking with just-enough-sweetness, Doppio Passo Primitivo, IGT Salento is our overall top pick, but we also rated Aldi’s bargain Castellore Italian Primitivo - a purse-friendly Primitivo we plan on buying on repeat.