- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Tormaresca, Negroamaro and Cabernet Sauvignon, Puglia, 2003, $10

This excellent red wine value offers plenty of dark fruit flavor with spicy, dry undertones and a firm structure. Hailing from the heel of the Italian boot, it tastes rustic but complete and displays surprising depth and length for a wine priced so low.

Negroamaro (meaning “black and bitter”) is an indigenous southern Italian grape variety. On its own, it can yield sturdy but often undistinguished wines, since its dry, tart character sometimes overwhelms the fruit.

In this particular wine, the addition of 30 percent cabernet sauvignon to the blend adds a succulent, sumptuous element, making the wine especially pleasurable to drink. Put simply, the imported grape allows the local wine to shine.

This wine is extremely well-balanced, its acidic core holding the ripe fruit in check. That balance is what ensures that it will complement spicy, acidic foods well. Try it with chili or pasta, tacos or pizza. Given its reasonable price tag, you might consider buying a case. (Imported by Remy Amerique.)

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