Puglia, the southernmost tip of Italy's boot heel, is not only home to the Primitivo, but also to the autochthonous grape variety Negroamaro, which is currently experiencing a kind of resurgence. Or one could also say that the Negroamaro is receiving a knighthood. For a long time, the deep dark wines were in demand as blending partners, to brighten up the colour of the rather pale Northern Italians. This has now subsided and is rather frowned upon, with the result that the demand and production of Negroamaro has fallen from over 30,000 hectares to just under 20,000 hectares.
The most famous area for the Negroamaro is the DOC region Salice Salentino, located between Lecce and Brindisi. The minimum requirement is 75% Negroamaro, often blended with Malvasia Nera.
Apulia has known this vine for more than 2000 years, probably brought by the ancient Greeks. Its name is, so to speak, self-explanatory: Negro describes the deep dark, almost black colour and amaro stands for the bitter, almond-like taste, which it owes to the abundance of tanning agents. These could hardly ripen due to the earlier high yields. If the tannins are left to ripen, and this can only be done with strong yield control, the tannins become soft. But the dark chocolate aroma comes from the fruit, which is reminiscent of dark chocolate.
In any case, this tart, delicately bitter wine impresses with its enormous variety of aromas. The intense sunshine during the day in alternation with the cool breezes at night from the nearby sea allow it to store many aromas during its ripening period. True, it has a lot of tannin, but that is exactly what makes it stand out from the rest of the world. It is a wine full of character, and it likes strong, spicy and strong dishes that accompany it.
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