I was recently fortunate enough to be invited to a private gathering in celebration of Italy in downtown Wichita. Guests brought home-made Italian dishes and various bottles of wine to share during this pot-luck event. The main event of the evening was a photo tour of Italy, particularly the Tuscany region, conducted by local Wichita photographer, John Ellert. As to be expected, there were a few bottles of Chianti, Sangiovese, and various Italian blended wines as well.
As I sampled the various wines provided by the guests, I happened upon one in particular that simply reached out and grabbed me. I really can’t think of a better way to describe the way it happened. From start to finish, this wine is a complex creation that leaves the palate with a smooth and satisfied finish. Apparently I am not alone in my appreciation for this gem, and, in fact, I was pleased to receive validation of my opinion. Upon further research, I found that the Wine Enthusiast Magazine gave it a rating of 90 points and another reviewer said, “Well made and crafted with food pairing in mind or to drink as a stand alone.“ And best of all…it can be found for around $10 a bottle.
So…here it is…the 2007 Tormaresca Neprica from Puglia, Italy. Cleverly named after the blend of grapes used, Negroamaro, Primitivo, and Cabernet (40%, 30% and 30% respectively), this wine is well crafted and deserving of the acclaim that it has received.
Tormaresca, itself, is named after the sea-facing towers built as lookout posts during Italy’s feudal history. Piero Antinori, president of Marchesi Antinori, founded Tormaresca when he purchased the extensive property and vineyards (See the beautiful photos at the Tormaresca website ).
The craftsmanship truly brings out the best in this wine. From the visually stimulating intense ruby red color (with a hint of garnet) to the earthy aromatic blend of black cherry and a hint of liccorice, the wine delivers upon the palate as well, offering ripe berry notes, with a hint of anise and dark chocolate, and concludes with a slightly tannic bite on the finish. Although the wine had not been decanted, many sources suggest an hour’s worth of decanting prior to serving.
While it is not a heavy-hitter or main event wine, reserved for special occasions, the Neprica is quite suitable for everyday drinking, an opener for sipping, or for pairing with lighter Italian dishes. While it could accompany the stereotypical Italian “red sauce, meatballs, and pasta” dishes, I personally would recommend this wine with some of the simple local Tuscany dishes. For those that want to experiment, try farfalle (bowtie pasta), lots of olive oil (infused with roasted garlic), a hearty portion of porcini mushrooms, mix in a handful of freshly chopped chives,and season with fresh ground pepper and a little nutmeg (or a lot, nutmeg pairs great with the earthy flavour of porcini mushrooms), and top it off with a good dose of freshly grated romano cheese…
And don’t forget to uncork the Neprica and decant it an hour before serving.