Layer Cake was one of those wines that escaped my usual process as a retailer of “trying before buying.” Of course I say this now because I no longer have a shop, which means I’m no longer accountable for this retail violation. Let’s face it, I brought the shiraz into the store because it had a cool label. Guilty. When I tried it though, I was blown away by the deliciousness of the wine. It sold pretty darn well for us too. Because of my experience with the shiraz, I was very curious to see what the primitivo would be all about; especially one fashioned by an Australian winemaker. Now I’m a big fan of primitivo. I love the rustic charm and the southern Italian sunshine tinged fruit you get from this grape. I’ve never been to Southern Italy before, but every time I drink primitivo, I feel like it gets me as close as I could possibly get to the country without actually being there.
I don’t know if it’s the power of suggestion, but the initial aromas of the primitivo, like the shiraz, had a sugary, cake battery quality to it. The wine is bursting with flavors of sugar coated, baked plums. It’s viscous and smooth and retains some sense of un-heaviness. I’ve tried many primitivos before and this was definitely not one that I would have had guessed as being one, if someone had poured it into my cup without my knowledge of what was going in. You could say that it’s one of those internationally styled cabernet-syrah-merlot-zinfandelly, fruit and oak-framed wines whose only identity is that it tastes internationally styled. It’s definitely not a bad thing; especially for twelve bucks, which is what the final damage was. It definitely has its place on the table; next to a slab of meat impaled with a plastic fork, on a paper plate and chugged down via the fine plastic.
The wine is made by Pure Love Wines. Here is an accurately phrased description by winemaker Jayson Woodbridge’s grandfather:
“My old grandfather made and enjoyed wine for eighty years.
He told me the soils in which the vines lived were a layer cake. He said the wine if properly made, was like a delicious cake layered with fruit, mocha and chocolate, hints of spice and rich, always rich. “Never pass up a good layer cake” he would say.”
I have always loved those words. Jayson Woodbridge – Winemaker
In addition to the shiraz and primitivo, they also make a malbec and grenache-based Cotes-du-Rhone bottling.
The verdict: A case-worthy acquisition if you do a lot of backyard barbeques.