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Tormaresca Neprica IGT Wine of Puglia - $11.99

Dwight Casimere | 6/22/2016, 3:06 p.m.
The Antinori family of Tuscany has been in the wine business for 26 generations over a period of 600 years. ...

The Antinori family of Tuscany has been in the wine business for 26 generations over a period of 600 years. In 1971, Marchese Piero Antinori lit the super-Tuscan dawn with the Sangiovese/Cabernet blend Tignanello. Prior to that, his uncle, Marchese Mario Incisa della Rochetta released his famed super-Tuscan Sassicaia.

In the 1990s, the Antinori family once again charted new territory investing in land in Puglia, the "heel of the boot" on the Adriatic coast. The move turned out to be prescient. The mineral-rich terroir and bright, lavish sun created perfect growing conditions that produced some of the most lush, flavorful wines in all of Italy.

The indigenous Puglian grapes are Negroamaro and Primitivo, which is identified as the genetic clone of California Zinfandel by the enologists at UC Davis, and Aglianco. The winery, Tormaresca, derives its name from the Puglian dialect. It means, "Tower by the Sea."

Now comes Tormaresca Neprica ($11.99), an IGT blend of native Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a spicy, jammy wine with the nicely rounded taste of ripe red fruit. It has just a hint of wild herbs that are found growing everywhere in Puglia and crushed wild flowers that grow along the sides of the road. Its a great wine to have with slow roasted meats, or savory sauces, such as the "ragu" that is so typical of the region. A typical Puglian meal starts with raw fish, fresh from the Adriatic, in the form of a roughly sliced catch of the day called "Crudo." The wine, served slightly chilled, can go from the first course right through a meal of homemade pasta with a red marinara sauce, or ravioli smothered in Spring Onion Butter.

Polpette Agrodolce, or sweet and sour meatballs, is a typical Puglian dish that makes this slightly spicy wine shine. Minced beef and pork meatballs flavored with garlic, parsley. Oregano and grated cheese, smothered in a rich tomato sauce layered with eggplant, raisins, almonds and pine nuts make for a typical lunch. It’s a heady mixture that brings out all of the many kaleidoscopic flavors of Neprica. This is a wine with a long finish that totally satisfies and makes even the simplest afternoon meal a sheer delight. Abondanza!