Unfortunately, we’re not likely to see the $8 sale prices we found for Tormaresca Neprica Puglia IGT at the end of last year, at least until the new 2011 vintage reaches the Washington area, and maybe not until clearance sales later this year. (The 2011 has been released in some parts of the country, but we haven’t found it in Virginia, Maryland or the District yet. The importer and distributor say it’s in the warehouse and coming soon.)
The 2010 vintage is on sale at Pearson’s in Glover Park for $9.95 a bottle, marked down from an inflated $15.99 regular price. It can be found in the District at Rodman’s on Wisconsin Ave. for $9.99 and at Calvert Woodley for $10.99. It’s also available in Maryland at some Montgomery County Liquor stores for $10.85 a bottle, but Total Wine has bumped its price up to $11.99. (So glad we scored a case of the 2010 at the old $7.99 price.)
Like another red value repeatedly recommenced here, Santa Cristina, Tormaresca is owned by the Antinori family, renowned producers of expensive “super Tuscan” wines. And like its affordable sibling, Neprica is a blend of grapes, dominated by the Italian varieties negroamaro and primitivo (Italy’s version of zinfandel) with some cabernet sauvignon for added muscle.
It’s more traditionally Italian than our go-to red blend from Italy, Falesco Vitiano, which is only one third sangiovese—the signature red grape of Tuscany—bended with one third cabernet and the other third merlot. Neprica has become one of our favorite Italian reds, now that it’s more widely available in this area, because of its richly Italian flavors.
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But if you like Italian wine and sangiovese—best known as the dominate grape in Chianti and Brunello, as well as many of the great wines of central Italy—there’s an equally reliable red widely available—on sale and otherwise—for $9 or less. Di Majo Norante Sangiovese Terre degli Osci has been recommended here since this column first launched in April 2009 (just look here, and here, and here, and also here). Yet despite consistently good scores from the critics over more than a decade, the 2011 vintage on sale at Calvert Woodley for just $8.79 a bottle, even less than the CW sale price on the 2007 promoted here four years ago.
“The 2011 Sangiovese Terre degli Osci is a deep, fleshy wine endowed with serious power and richness, not to mention dark fruit profile,” wrote Antonio Galloni in the February issue of Wine Advocate. “Hints of leather, licorice and tobacco linger on the finish.”
And this is one wine suburbanites don’t have to make the trip downtown to find on sale. It’s on sale through the end of the month at Montgomery County Liquor stores for $8.99 (regularly $11.25), and Total Wine in Virginia has it every day for just $8.49 a bottle.
Like most good sangiovese-based reds, Di Majo Norante has the characteristic bright acidity and sour cherry flavors that help it pair well with a wide range of spring and summer fare. We’ve been admonished by at least one reader that we’ve been harping on the coming of backyard barbeque season of late. But that’s why we always stock up on Italian reds this time of year.
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