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Negroamaro Stories: Italian Rosato and More

Museo Negroamaro

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Are you in the mood for some ‘black bitter’?

Negroamaro is the darling grape of Salento, which makes up the heel of Italy down south in Puglia. The grape’s name translates to black (negro) and bitter (amaro). It’s a grape that Charine and I are familiar with. During our time in Singapore, it seemed like every Italian restaurant was owned by a Puglian, which meant that Negroamaro was a standard house pour.

Most Italian wine lovers have drunk Negroamaro without knowing it. The wine known as Salice Salentino is made from the grape and is the most well-known DOC of Puglia.

Negroamaro produces dense, exciting rosés in addition to deep-colored, rich, and earthy red wines. It’s at home in the eastern part of the Salento peninsula and does best grown as a bush vine. The Salento peninsula is sun-baked, flat, and arid which means the best wines come from old vines that have developed a deep root system.

Negroamaro Stories 2019

The Negroamaro Stories 2019 marked the third time I’ve visited Salento in the last year. It’s inspiring to see the effort some of these producers are making to chase quality. It’s not perfect in Puglia, as there are plenty of overripe and oxidized wines being put into the bottle, but there are some wonderful wines on offer.

The style where Negroamaro shines is rosato, a deeper colored rosé. If you head to this part of Italy on holiday, you can be sure that nearly every darker colored Negroamaro rosato will be good. Unfortunately, this style is losing steam as consumers want lighter colored and less complex rosé wines.

While the grape is probably best suited for rosato, there are some delicious, everyday reds being made. Some of the more ambitious producers have crafted with complex age-worthy examples too. Don’t expect these reds to last decades, but do expect them to outperform their price points after seven to nine years in the bottle.

Wine Recommendations:

You can find out more about our scoring system on the WINE RATING page.

  • Taurino Francesco, Espra 2018

Francesco is the son of the late Cosimo Taurino. He branched off several years ago to start his own project. The Taurino Francesco Espra Rosato is made from Negroamaro. It’s cherry-colored with an orange rim and notes of red cherry, dried strawberry, and orange peel. This is full-bodied and deep in color with tangy acidity and an orange candy type of finish. This is a Rosato that begs for food. Score: 89/100

Taurino Francesco Espra
  • Cosimo Taurino, Notarpanaro 2010

Find or buy on Wine-Searcher.

Cosimo Taurino is a pioneer of Pugliese wine, he worked hard to promote Negroamaro. The Cosimo Taurino Notarpanaro was the first label in the winery’s portfolio. It’s made from 100% Negroamaro. There are notes of rubber, cherry, red raspberry, chocolate, Mediterranean brush, and pepper. Full-bodied and developed wine with chewy tannins. It has rusticity but in a good way. Score: 90+/100

Cosimo Taurino Notarpanaro
  • Cosimo Taurino, Patriglione 2013

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The Cosimo Taurino Patriglione is an iconic Southern Italian wine made from 100% Negroamaro. It’s made from grapes partially dried on the vine. There are notes of dried strawberry, leather, tobacco, raspberry, and pepper. Rich and full-bodied but the fruit isn’t jammy. There is a good balance and the wine has sweet, fine grained tannins. This is a wine of real character. Score: 92/100 

Cosimo Taurino Patriglione
  • Feudi di Guagnano, DieciAnni 2017

So this isn’t a Negroamaro, but it’s such a beautiful, inexpensive wine that is worth seeking out. The Feudi di Guagnano DieciAnni Malvasia Nera is aged in stainless steel. There are notes of red plum, black olive, incense, and crushed flower. This is full-bodied, spicy, and unique. It’s a red Pugliese wine that isn’t overly jammy. Full in body with alcohol balanced and under control with a long finish. This wine offers a ton of character for the money. Score: 90/100

Feudi di Guagnano Nieci Anni Malvasia Nera
  • Feudi di Guagnano, Cupone Salice Salentino 2016

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The Feudi di Guagnano Cupone is a well made, modern Salice Salentino. It is a blend of Negroamaro and 10% Malvasia Nera, aged for 24 months in tonneaux. It is a pretty wine, which is unique for a Pugliese red. Notes of dried strawberry, dried raspberry, cedar, and tobacco. Really complex red wine for the price. Full in body with a long, complex finish. Score: 90+/100

Feudi di Guagnano Cupone Salice Salentino Riserva
  • Cantina Leuci, Primitivo 2017

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The lone Primitivo…

Cantine Leuci has found a niché for itself producing kosher wines. The Cantine Leuci Primitivo is true to the grape and offers fantastic value with notes of raspberry, stewed strawberry, and chocolate. Full-bodied but not overly jammy like many Primitivos can be. This is smooth on the backend with slightly grippy tannins. Well made example of what Primitivo can be.  Good value for money, around 12 USD. Score: 87/100

Cantine Leuci Primitivo
  • Moros, Salice Salentino Riserva 2016

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Cantina Moros only makes one wine, in small quantities. Their Moros Salice Salentino Riserva is an ambitious wine that is consistently delicious. There are notes of black raspberry, sour cherry, tobacco, meat, and baking spice. This vintage has more elegance and acidity than the 2015. It’s full-bodied but not cloyingly big. Aged one year in barrique and one in the bottle, it’s a vibrant Southern Italian wine with chewy tannins. Score: 92/100

*You can check out the cellar and Charine’s thought of this wine in the video below.

  • Enotria, Rosato Flowers 2018

Enotria is a cooperative that has recently taken on new leadership. One of the first wines from this new era is the Enotria Rosato Flowers. Fresh and full of strawberry, raspberry, and watermelon. This is traditional rosé and a modern style. Fruity and full of juiciness, this is easy drinking and delicious. I’m a big fan of cooperative wineries and hope that Enotria has a rebirth with their new leadership. 86/100

  • Cantele, Rohesio Negroamaro 2018

Find or buy on Salento Wine Shop.

Cantele makes two rosatos from Negroamaro, a basic one and this Rohesio Negroamaro made from old vines. It’s deeper in color with notes of strawberry, tangerine, and cherry. This is a full-bodied rosato with a touch of tannins and a long finish. Score: 90/100

Cantele Rohesia Negroamaro
  • Cantele, Salice Salentino Riserva 2015

Find or buy on Wine-Searcher.

The Cantele Salice Salentino Riserva is a fabulous, inexpensive red wine. Black raspberry, red plum, rubber, and Mediterranean herb. It’s full-bodied with a lot of dark fruit. It’s plush on the palate with a little bit of grip. Very food-friendly with plenty of Italian flair. Score: 89/100

Cantele Salice Salentino Riserva

Many of these wines can also be found on Salento Wine Shop with shipping EU-wide and to the USA.


Thanks to the Pugliese Tourism Board for providing transport and accommodation during our stay in Guagnano. Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are unsolicited and have not been paid for in any way by governmental bodies, enterprises, or individuals. We do not sell editorial content as that would destroy the legitimacy of our reviews and the trust between Exotic Wine Travel and its readers. On occasion, we extend the option of purchasing the wines we review or/and the products we spotlight. Some of these product links are set up through affiliate programs, which means Exotic Wine Travel gets referral credits if you choose to purchase these items via the links we provide.

DR MATTHEW HORKEY
DR MATTHEW HORKEY
Author | Speaker | Wine Nerd
https://exoticwinetravel.com

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