2012 Torzi Matthews Vigna Cantina Negro Amaro

Indigenous solely to the southern Italian region of Puglia and particularly to its south-eastern Salento peninsula, Negro Amaro is a dark-skinned grape noted for producing robust and appealing rustic wines best known in DOC Salice Salentino and Copertino wines. Not unlike Aglianico, it is an ancient variety with an interesting history dating back to a wine believed to have been brought to Puglia by Illyrian settlers prior to the Greek colonisation there in the 7th century BC. 

When the Roman Empire went belly up, winemaking followed suit leaving Benedictine and Greek Orthodox monks in the Puglia region to keep the Negro Amaro grape alive and thriving.     

There is a belief that the meaning of Negro Amaro is derived from its modern day translation of black bitter. Whatever its etymology, it would appear that the confluence of Latin (negro) and Greek (maru) cultural empires was more instrumental in reference to the grape's colour black black rather than to the contemporary translation. 

This is the third vintage from the Torzi Matthews' vineyards in Barossa Valley's Koonunga Dunes sub-region. Only a handful of wineries are at present producing Negro Amaro wines, a fact that should change given the variety's suitability in viticultural terms to warmer regions.      
Negro Amaro Grapes

Dense purple, almost black in the glass. Darth Vader black. Light is sucked in and disappears. A lifted nose of sour black cherry, black plum and violet aromas. Light to medium bodied. There are fresh spicy cherry, liquorice and white pepper flavours across the palate. Smooth texturally with bitter, dark, silky tannins. Little oak to speak of. Young and tight from the outset - perhaps because the vines are five years old - it needed to calm, which it did the second evening like the Aglianico. A persistent finish of spicy cinnamon and earthy notes. As the vines age, it'll be interesting to sample future vintages. A good wine.

Source: Winery Sample. Alcohol: 13.9%. Closure: Screwcap. Price: $22.00. Rating: 87+ Points.
Website: http://www.torzimatthews.com.au/home/

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