I walked into my local Specialty LDB store here in Vancouver tonight not knowing what I felt like picking up… just that I’d like it to be tasty and a great value. In the back corner of the specialty section, there’s a little cart upon which the folks that run the store put mark-downs in the more-than-$25 range. When I saw this wine on the table (marked down to $29 from $39), it really piqued my interest. It checked two boxes on my wine dance card – it’s Italian and it’s a semi-obscure grape, Negroamaro.
Now for a little background on Negroamaro. The grapes that made up this bottle were grown in the Southern Italian region of Puglia and more specifically in the Salento area, which would be pictured as the “heel” of Italy (if you think of the boot shape of the country). It’s an ancient grape, which can generally be described as a deep, dark and perfume-y.
Well, this wine is certainly deep, dark and perfume-edged; although it’s more than that. 2003 was an extremely hot year throughout much of Europe… and many wines suffered. The native Negroamaro grape seems to have fared well though. It’s accustomed to the heat of southern Italy, so the heat of that summer wasn’t too much for it. In fact, instead of the flabbiness of many of the wines from 2003, this one shows depth and structure.
It’s got a nose that is loaded with ripe dark fruit, perfume-like floral notes (think violets) and a rustic felt-tip marker like earthy edge. A sip gives up a really tasty gob of that dark fruit with blackberry and ripe black cherry, violets, leather, tar and a long and tannic rustic finish. It’s got healthy, but not very noticeable 14% booze.
For the money (at least here in tax-burdened BC), this is a helluva’ a wine for $29. I actually can’t think of another red wine I’d rather drink in that range. If you can find it for this price, you really should give it a try.
$29 at LDB stores here in BC.