As always, the following wines can be found in wine shops in Portland, Oregon.
Cantine Rosa Del Golfo 2008 “Scaliere” Negroamaro IGT
Grape: 100% Negroamaro
Where to Buy: Liner & Elsen
Short Review: Smooth and surprising; great price
This wine is made just east of Gallipoli, Puglia, and it's truly complex. I'm using Karen McNeil's definition of complex: It's not complex because it has so many different components; it's complex like an artwork that you can't get out of your head but you don't know why. At first whiff, Cantine Rosa Del Golfo's Scaliere remains illusive. Memories of childhood somehow arise, and all descriptions fall short. This wine is excellent. It is interesting; more so than many $30-$40 wines. The nose has floral and citrus notes. There's dried date, cinnamon, cloves, and cooked blueberries. In the mouth, the wine's texture, structure, and finish are most present: medium bodied, soft as velvet, long finish. I love this wine, and the price is perfect.
Grape: 80% Negroamaro, 20% Malvasia Nera
Where to Buy: Trader Joe's
Short Review: Simple wine for complex people
I hesitate to review cheap, mass-produced wines from Trader Joe’s because I question their consistency in terms of flavor. However, I reviewed this wine back in 2008 (when it was $3.99) and I liked it then. It’s a good wine for 5.99, but I think it would be a great wine for 3.99. It's simple but stolid. The score is so high because of the price point (price and quality both get 50% in my wine rating system). Nose of raspberry and cherry pie. In the mouth, it's rich with a smooth, chalky/chocolaty finish; full bodied. Great with any marinara sauce or pizza.