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Ogio Primitivo, Puglia IGT 2010
Region: Puglia, Italy
The scale of what Ogio has been able to achieve in just a few years since launch has been quite astounding. Ogio have gone from a wine brand that did not exist, to become one of the biggest selling wine brands in the UK. Coming in at number 18 on the list of most purchased wine brands in the UK, this puts Ogio and it’s wines not far behind those of Blossom Hill and Gallo in terms of popularity. Not only is Ogio one of the most popular wine brands at the moment, it is also one of the quickest growing.
Cynics might point out that this runaway commercial success for Ogio may not have very much to do with the intrinsic quality of the wines that Ogio offer. For example, distribution of Ogio wines is significantly larger than for the majority of wines in the UK, with wide representation via one of the largest supermarkets. The pricing strategy for Ogio also seems to be built around the “special” offer culture where the wines are marked up to £9.99 for a period before being cut in price to £5 a bottle on half price special offers which are also likely to draw customers to the Ogio brand. This is true for this Ogio Primitivo too, which is otherwise seen priced at around £8 per bottle online (this is the price quoted at the top of the review).
Less cynical observers may point out that Ogio’s popularity may be down to both marketing and range of wines on offer. Packaged in slick, minimalistic bottles with the grape varieties generally picked out clearly with their new world names despite the old world origins of Ogio’s wines - e.g. Ogio Shiraz instead of Ogio Syrah, and an Ogio Zinfandel Rosé instead of a Ogio Primitivo Rosé - consumers can find grape varieties that they recognise in a bottle which is attractive. The Ogio range is also considerable with 10 different Ogio wines consisting of 2 Ogio sparkling wines, 3 Ogio rosés, 2 Ogio whites and 3 Ogio reds - perfectly geared up to the Summer months.
I’m sure that the people at Ogio would also like to think that the reason their wines are so popular is their quality (within the constraints that winemakers face at low price levels). And that is what the review of this Ogio Primitivo sets out to establish.
Having received some critical acclaim for the 2007 vintage of this Ogio Primitivo (4 stars in Decanter magazine (August 2008) and being awarded “Wine of the Week” in the Observer (February 2008)) and for the 2008 vintage, which won the Silver Medal at the Los Angeles International Wine Competition (in 2010) – Ogio must hope that they have continued this winning streak with the 2009 vintage Ogio Primitivo.
After hand-picking and fermentation in Puglia, Southern Italy, this Ogio Primitivo is aged for 4 months in oak barrels before release.
In the glass, this Ogio Primitivo is a fresh, vibrant Victoria plum colour. Translucent throughout, this Ogio Primitivo lacks the intensity (darkness in the centre of the glass) which marks out many Italian Primitivos. Alcohol is also light – coming in at just 13% - in fact this is lightest in alcohol I can remember seeing in a Primitivo. Naturally a grape which generates high levels of sugar on the vine and therefore high levels of alcohol during fermentation I am surprised this Ogio Primitivo does not contain a greater weight of alcohol.
On the nose, this Ogio Primitivo expresses blackcurrants and cherry. The aromas are neither as easily available nor as expressive as with the majority of Primitivo on the market and they lack the typical Primitivo rusticity which often comes across in the form of deeper and sweeter plums and raisins when you smell the wine. The very simple aromas of this Ogio Primitivo are nevertheless not unappealing, if representing a lighter, “more international” style of red wine. The aromas of this Ogio Primitivo do become slightly richer after a period of time open with a few sweeter fruit notes appearing, but otherwise it would be almost impossible to identify this Ogio Primitivo as being composed of the Primitivo grape.
In the mouth this Ogio Primitivo displays a very short length of flavour. Astringent, under-ripe cherries and almost bitter redcurrants feature in the main part of the palate of this Ogio Primitivo along with a lot of acidity. The lack of any significant fruit flavours leaves this Ogio wine unbalanced in a manner which is not particularly pleasant and it certainly seems well below average.
In summary, this Ogio Primitivo is a disappointing wine. It offers little in the way of trademark Southern Italian or Primitivo flavours, instead it attempts to produce a more international ‘light and fruity’ style which would be acceptable, if it didn’t manage this quite so badly as well. I have not previously come across a Primitivo (a variety that naturally features sweet fruit flavours) to appear so astringent and unbalanced. One of the few bottles of wine that I have sampled recently that has required emptying before recycling, I fear that this Ogio Primitivo rather gives evidence to the suggestion that some of Ogio's wines are all marketing and little substance.
Ogio Primitivo, Puglia IGT (2010):
Score: 59/100 – Shows virtually no varietal charm, is unbalanced and astringent.
Value for money: 2/10 – Five pound a bottle special offers lure customers, poor even at this price
Posted by TheIndependentWineReview on September 26th, 2011 at 7:19am |
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