Botromagno
2007 5 Uve Murgia Rosso IGT

Equal amounts of Aglianico, Montepulciano, Primitivo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
$NA, $15 in Italy
Very ripe on the nose with black fruits edged in smoky fennel seed notes. Sweetly fruited in the mouth and quite complex for a decidedly fruit-driven wine. The palate is full of black fruits with good acidity and a moderately long, succulent finish. 88pts

Alberto Longo
2007 4.7.7. Syrah

$NA, $20 in Italy
Dark and toasty on the nose with beefy aromas topped by coffee and chocolate shavings. Big and certainly well made with rich berry and plum fruit, accented with sweet, vanilla, cedar, and wood spice tones. Long, polished and international, though this does have a certain appeal. 88pts

Terre Federiciane
2008 Giove Rosso

60% Montepulciano, 40% Nero di Troia
$NA
Quite aromatic with stemmy, floral notes framing gentle dark berry fruit. A touch rustic in the mouth with vibrant cherry and blackberry fruit supported by good acids and slightly angular tannins. The fruit sneaks past the tannins on the moderately long finish. A classic table wine, delicious, interesting, fruit-driven without being fruity. 88pts

Botromagno
2006 Pier delle Vigne

60% Aglianico, 40% Montepulciano
$25
A bit poppy and certainly leathery on the nose with some charred wood character integrated in rich blue and black fruits. Some wood sweetness on entry is followed by a nice, fairly elegant, if detail-less, mid-palate that offers up transparent blackberry fruits.  Could improve. 88pts

Conte Spagnoletti Zeuli
2009 Castel del Monte Rosso

Nero di Troia/Montepulciano
$NA, $7 in Italy
Fresh and slightly herbal on the nose with pure raspberry fruit and complicating soil and herbaceous tones. Lovely in the mouth, fresh and brisk, with modest tannins and bright acidity supporting transparent, fresh fruit topped with subtle herbal tones. Yes, it’s simple but balanced and drinkable. An ideal table wine. 88pts

Cefallicchio
2007 Rosso Canosa

65% Nero di Troia, 35% Montepulciano
$16
Complex aromas of lipstick, smoldering hay, gravel, tar, dried flowers -- all underpinned by a touch of honeycomb sweetness. Black soil and spice tones dominate the entry with bitter cherry fruit on the mid-palate, which shows good intensity in a lean style. The finish is fairly long and mineral-driven with a nice wild cherry finale. 88pts

Tenuta Girolamo
2004 Petrakos

80% Merlot, 20% Primitivo
$NA, $32 in Italy
Intensely aromatic with rich notes of cocoa, gamy meat, and raw wood. Smooth on entry with good acids supporting lots of sour plum fruits that lead to a modest finish, which is cut short by aggressive tannins. Time might allow for some improvement here, but the tannins are out of balance and the fruit might lose freshness with time. 88pts

Castel di Salve
2007 P Priante

Negroamaro/Montepulciano, 50/50
$18
Big tobacco, toast and black spice notes on the nose. Very polished and smooth in the mouth, with nicely integrated though noticeable tannin lending a chalky feel to the soft finish, which shows some coffee crema notes. A bit blocky and anonymous.  88pts

2008 L Lama del Tenente
35% Primitivo, 35% Montepulciano, 30% Negroamaro
$NA, $20 in Italy
Complex on the nose though mostly with toasty, milk chocolaty, oaky notes. Thick and chewy in the mouth with nutty notes up front, nice fruit on the mid-palate, and then cola tones on the short finish. Very modern-styled wine. 87pts

Villa Schinosa
2006 San Valentino

Nero di Troia, Cabernet Sauvignon
$NA, $20 in Italy
Stemmy on the nose with olive, olive leaf and scorched earth aromas. A bit heavy and over-ripe in the mouth with a soft easy feel and gently herb-tinged black fruits that are marred by a hint of bitterness on the moderately long finish. 87pts

2005 Terranera
40% Nero di Troia, 40% Montepulciano, 20% Aglianico
$NA, $25 in Italy
Intensely aromatic and spicy, with an underlay of roasted meat and spicy cinnamon top notes over hard black fruit. Sweet and round in the mouth with a very supple feel, though the flavors are a bit muddy. There’s a lot of dark fruit here but this wine trades clarity for density. 87pts

Terra Maiorum
2008 Castel de Monte

Nero di Troia / Montepulciano
$NA
Stemmy and herbal on the nose with a smoky, black spice top note. Easy in the mouth with candied, slightly sweet blackberry fruits and a nice touch of tannin that keep this balanced and adds a refreshing bite on the modest finish. 87pts

Antiche Aziende Canosine
2008 Mherum

35% Uva di Troia, 35% Montepulciano, 15% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
$NA, $15 in Italy
Rather intense on the nose with black fruit, earthy spice and light floral top notes. Feels well balanced in the mouth with aromatic spice tones in the mouth, polished yet abundant tannins, and nicely taut fruit that loses to the tannins on the modest finish. A bit modern and perhaps too extracted. 87pts

Duca Carlo Guarini
2008 Burdi Rosso

60% Negroamaro, 40% Primitivo
$NA
Lightly perfumed on the nose with a gently stemmy tone. Fresh and pure on entry with a bright, playful feel. The tannins are floating under the bright red fruits just adding a bit of texture. Neither big nor complicated but wonderfully drinkable. 87pts

Cantina di San Marzano
2009 Primitivo/Merlot 50/50

$NA, $12 in Italy
Darkly fruity on the nose with medicinal notes buried in sweet coffee crema notes. Big, sweetly fruity entry is followed by a big, slightly matte mid-palate that has a slight bitterness. This is pretty intense but at the same time it’s clumsy, with drying tannins cutting the finish short. 86pts

Alberto Longo
2008 Cacc’e Mmitte

50% Nero di Troia, 35% Montepulciano, 15% Bombino Bianco
$NA, $15 in Italy
A bit stewy on the nose, though not very fruit-driven with mostly tarry and smoky aromas. Soft and fresh in the mouth with a very juicy mid-palate full of blueberry fruit and fine follow-through. Easy drinking and pleasant. 86pts

Terre Federiciane
2006 Coppa Castello

70% Nero di Troia, 30% Montepulciano
$NA
Very wood-driven aromatics of milk chocolate, smoke, vanilla and grilled meats. Rich and dense in the mouth with lots of wild berry fruit draped in milk chocolate. It’s too heavy, thick and rich with wood tannin to drink well. Lacks any sense of finesse. 86pts

Albea
2007 Raro

60% Negroamaro, 40% Primitivo
$NA
Smoky on the nose with a dried earthy character. Round on entry with a nicely fleshy mid-palate that offers up somewhat anonymous dark fruits. 85pts

2007 Duo
Cabernet Sauvignon / Uve di Troia, 50/50
$NA
Lightly jammy on the nose with black currant fruit accented by notes of bitter melon and exotic fruit tones. Smooth and dense in the mouth with a lightly chewy feel and limited detail in the mouth. Lots of cocoa character on the modest finish gives this some complexity but it doesn’t fulfill the promise of the nose. 85pts

Cantina di San Marzano
2009 Rosso Calentini

Sangiovese/Negroamaro/Agliancio in equal proportions
$NA, $15 in Italy
A touch of caramel sweetness on the nose tops the toasty coffee crema notes. Light on entry then turning a bit round on the mid-palate and very floral in the mouth. This seems a bit staccato on the backend, lacking integration with plenty of fruit but the acid and tannins both stick out at certain points. 84pts

Conti Zecca
2007 Nero

70% Negroamaro, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon
$19
This is totally dominated by coffee and toast aromas. International and anonymous. Drying and heavily extracted in the mouth with sweet fruit cut by dense woody tones on the mid-palate. The finish is short and dominated by rigid, stiff, woody tannins. 78pts

Villa Schinosa
2007 Laghiglione

Primitivo/Syrah
$NA, $9 in Italy
This smells dreadfully over-ripe and pruny. In the mouth it’s marginally better but still shows distinctly over-ripe, soft, and unpleasant. NR