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maianaFrom Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot, this wine is made from 90% Negroamaro grapes, a robust, tannic varietal supplemented by 10% of the floral, aromatic Malvasia Nera. Leone De Castris is one of the largest and oldest wineries in Puglia, with about 1000 acres under vine.

This wine shows red plum, vanilla, and modest spice and smoky notes, marred by a slight raw wood background. Medium plus weight, the palate is juicy up front, although not especially concentrated. It turns rugged on the finish with drying tannins and some high toned acidity that gives the wine lift, as hints of cocoa and bitter herbs emerge.

Aged for 6 months in neutral French oak.

Certainly a hearty wine, the tannins, slight bitterness, and acidity combine to give it a rustic feel typical of wines from this region. It cries out for sausage and Stevie Ray Vaughn’s version of Voodoo Child.

Score: 87

Price: $12

Alc: 13.5%