Best of the Best Wines from Puglia, Part 3: Other Reds

"Other Reds"

The first three reds here are tremendous reds that demonstrate the best that Puglia has to offer, however you might notice that they do not receive the highest ratings. Just quickly, I’d like to mention that my ratings take the price of the wines into consideration. Valle Dell’Asso’s “Piromáfo” is a tremendous wine, but at 13.50 euro I could purchase almost three bottles of Consorzio Produttori di Vini’s “Lirica.” Is it three times as good as “Lirica”? In my opinion: No.

Valle Dell’Asso Winery
Rating: 6
Available in U.S.: ?
2003 “Piromáfo” (100% Negroamaro)
13.50 Euro

A wine that truly evolves as you drink it. 1st glass: nose of chocolate, coffee, dried cherry, and cedar. Flavors of almond, bitter almond, and bitter finish. Nose opens to more chocolate (chocolate covered coffee beans) and raisin. The acidity is striking and each sips tastes alive. This wine exhibits Karen McNeil’s definition of complexity, because there is something undefinable about the nature of it. It is also expressive: You can taste that the winemaker gave the wine a lot of its character. The finish is smooth, verging on cola and sweetness. The sweetness stays reserved, but the cola is too strong at times.

Mocavero Winery
Rating: 7
Available in U.S.: Yes
2003 “Santufili” (100% Primitivo)
16.50 Euro

Click for my review.

Ionis Winery
Rating: 6
Available in U.S.: No
2004 “Suavitas” Salice Salentino DOC Riserva (Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera)
20.00 Euro

The bottle seems to weigh a ton and is characteristic of the wine inside. Nose of almonds, shoe polish leather, sour black cherry, and wet embers. Flavors of dried cherry, pipe tobacco, leather, dried fruit leather. Mouthfeel of course satin and warm milk. Finish pulls back and then spice fills in and in until you can’t stand it, and the tannins give character rather than being dry. A quote: “recently polished fireman boots trudging through a recently extinguished fire.” Wow.

Leone de Castris Winery
Rating: 5
Available in U.S.: ?
2007 Copertino DOC
4.50 Euro

One of Leone de Castris’s low-end wines, the Copertino DOC is stable, dark, and juicy with the main flavor component of tar. An aggressive wine, it pairs very well with complex dishes, and should not be drank alone. Medium body.

Consorzio Produttori di Vini Winery
Rating: 6
Available in U.S.: No
2008 “Neama” (100% Negroamaro)
4.50 Euro

Aged in stainless steel, Neama has the character of a rustic wine and the tastes of the grapes themselves clearly come through. Clean and simple with red fruit.

Azienda Monaci Winery
Rating: 8
Available in U.S.: ?
2005 “Sine Pari” (100% Nero di Troia)
5.00 Euro

The Nero di Troia grape is the closest thing to Cabernet Sauvignon that I’ve found in Puglia Sine Pari is the most balanced and least aggressively tannic Nero di Troia wine that I've had. That it was only a 2005 was surprising. Dark fruit and cloves. Dusty, astute tannins make it great for tomato-centered dishes and meat dishes with complex sauces. Full bodied.


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