Tormaresca Neprica Puglia IGT (2009)

tormaresca-neprica-puglia-igt-puglia-italyA friend of mine brought me a bottle of this wine when we were having a party. I remember him commenting something like: “unfortunately, since you get the email alerts from, you know how much I paid for this.” (He got it for about $10.)

So, he brought me a relatively cheap bottle. Someone else brought me a bottle of Funky Llama Malbec too, so he realy shouldn’t feel bad. (Steph: “Who brought this Malbec?” Me: “Someone who doesn’t like me.”)

Plus, Southern Italy is a great region for value right now. Puglia in particular, though some Aglianicos can get expensive, offers many high quality wines for quite reasonable prices. Wine Enthusiast rated this particular wine #8 in their “100 Best Buys of 2011” and gave it a 90-point rating. So, $10 or not, I was looking forward to digging in.

Tormaresco, which is owned and operated by the Antinori family, famous for their Tignanello Super-Tuscans, and for being the first Tuscan vintner to blend Sangiovese with international grapes like Cabernet, is a relatively new winery, but rapidly growing due to the big name behind it. As such, it’s not surprising that this particular wine blends two indigenous grapes (Negroamaro/40% and Primitivo/30%) with an international variety (Cabernet/30%). This is also where the name comes from – Ne.Pri.Ca. Apparently the former two grapes are rarely blended either, though it would seem that Primitivo’s soft fruitiness would be a nice foil to Negroamaro’s brooding bitterness.

Still, I felt the Cabernet dominated this wine a bit much – especially considering it is only 30% –  taking a way some of the unique Italian character that the other grapes would bring to the table. There were hints of anise (from the Negroamaro) and spice (Primitivo), but the nose was almost all pencil shavings, and the finish was harshly tannic (though the Negroamaro surely contributed to that as well).

In the end, I’m not really sure what Wine Enthusiast is so worked up about here. This wine isn’t bad, but it is not something to get excited over, even at $9-10.

Tasting Notes:

Decanted about 45 mins. Aroma dominated by the Cabernet – pencil shavings are quite prominent. Also notes of sour cherry, smoky meat and herbs. Palate features more sour fruit, with hints of chocolate and spicy licorice. Finish is a bit harsh, with pasty tannins and some acid. Softened as we drank it but also lost its character as it did. Overall, this had some interesting flavors, but the sour aspect and the harsh finish left me nonplussed; not sure I get all the praise.


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