Before I continue with my examination of the Puglian wine scene, it’s worth noting that today’s tasting report focuses on that Puglian workhorse of a grape: Negroamaro. You may not know Negroamaro, but it’s the heart of many popular Puglian blends, such as Salice Salentino, Copertino, Leverano, and my favorite (if only just to say it) the exquisitely named Squinzano!
Let me immediately contradict that by saying it’s hard to override the character of Negroamaro; it is what is. By the same token, it seems very difficult to tease complexity and finesse from these grapes, but not impossible!
A few last words on these Negroamaro wines. Because of the power, richness and somewhat rustic quality of many of these wines, they pair wonderfully with game dishes, particularly stews and braises, though beef is a fine partner as well. I have enjoyed the earthier examples with dishes like a good pork molé, allowing that savory, earthy note to bridge the wine and food.
You’ll notice quite a few are not available in the U.S. market. In part that is due to the fact that many of these wines were tasted pre-release. In other cases, the producers are relatively new, or the specific wines are recent additions to the producer’s profile. That leads us back the discussion begun last week on what it is that Puglia’s wine scene is experiencing and going through.
Last week, I ended with this thought: “People are no longer gravitating toward the bigger is better mocha-choco-blueberry shake-style of wines. This is not to say that no-one is doing modern high-end Puglian wines well. Quite the contrary. A few of the producers I tried shocked me with the quality of their wines, but it was for a simple reason: they captured the essence of their most valuable asset.”
So, the broader question then is: “How did Puglia’s winemakers get here and why am I tasting so many wines from ‘new’ wineries or recent additions to a winemaker’s portfolio?” Let me propose a theory, next time on Snooth.
Go to pages 2 and 3 for tasting notes for 37 Negroamaro wines.