Say that five times fast, right? To go for the easy joke, this wine with a mouthful of a name was a real mouthful. (Ba-dum-bump.) Tasted at Lake Travis Wine Trader at one of their Tuesday wine classes, led that week by the exceptionally knowedgeable AJ Hernadez of Republic National Distributing.
Almost black in color, and nearly opaque. Intensely nutty, gamy nose of tar, amaretto, prune, currant and black pepper. One of those noses that is hard to quantify because it’s so monolithic — you can pick away (at the nose, haha) and capture aspects of it in words, but largely it smells like… its rich, powerful self. I guess Fitzgerald was right: the rich are different from you and me; they’re difficult to describe.
Presents an earthy, chewy palate; not super-fruity in its plumminess, but rich and meaty. There is a scratch of tannin in the velvety texture, like cut glass beads on a plush pillow. Parker, as he gave this wine a 91, recommended that it be drunk between 2006 and 2015. I think we’re still on the early side, but heavens we’re getting there!
This wine is made from the southern Italian grape called Negroamaro. That doesn’t mean “little bitter one” like it looks like it should, but rather “blackest of the black,” its etymological roots coming from the Greek as well as the Latin. I fell in love with Negroamaro through Mark Shannon’s excellent wine A Mano Promessa, from Apuglia (the heel of the boot). He brings out a real delicate floweriness in his wine that makes the Promessa and this Masseria Maime seem like they come from completely different grapes.
Masseria Maime is a product of Piero Antinori’s estate, Tormaresca, in Apuglia; founded in 1998, this ultra-modern winery is operated by a local team which is supervised by Antinori’s accomplished winemaker Renzo Cotarella. Renzo and his brother Riccardo have done much to shape modern Italian wine; Renzo at Antinori for over 25 years, and Riccardo… well, everywhere else. Literally, everywhere: he is consulting winemaker for over 60 Italian estates, and some in France as well. I love his wines with many hearts.
Renzo Cotarella is the man behind such legendary wines as Solaia and Tignanello, wines that changed the face of Italian wine: by operating outside of hidebound Italian wine laws, Antinori made such stunning, elegant and ageworthy wines that garnered so much international renown, that Italian wine law had to change in response. Thus, the IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) classification was born; Craig Camp wrote an excellent explanation of the whole system here. Also, check Michele Shah’s interesting article about the Cotarella brothers.
You’ll see tasty wines made from Negroamaro that come from Puglia, Salento, and Tarantino. What wine grape has it’s own rock band? None other than Negroamaro. Dr. Debs likes to drink her Negroamaro with pizza. Wine Sediments has a great post (kind of the grape from an Italian perspective), here. Tim at Cheap Wine Ratings wrote about Negroamaro for Wine Blogging Wednesday #37, and reviewed one of my other favorite wines from this region, Taurino Salice Salentino. If you want some recommendations on good wine that will keep your pocketbook from wincing, definitely check with Good Wine Under $20 and Cheap Wine Ratings.
Drink! Drink! Negroamaro is the original new black!