One of the most consistently exceptional Italian reds hasn’t been featured here frequently because it’s not as widely distributed locally as stalwarts like Falesco Vitiano, Monte Antico, Santa Cristina or Michele Chiarlo Barbera d'Asti. Yet Tormaresca Neprica is finding its way onto more and more Washington-area wine shop shelves, and the new 2010 vintage is on sale locally for less than $8 a bottle.
The 2010 Tormaresca Puglia Nèprica from southern Italy – the “heel” of the boot, to be exact – has yet to be reviewed by the major wine publications. But judging from the near-unanimous praise from the critics earned by the previous four vintages back to 2006, we’re not waiting for a nod from the pros before picking up a bottle or two. And thought it typically sells for between $10 and $12 a bottle, right now the 2010 is on sale at Pearson’s in Glover Park for just $7.95 a bottle, while the 2009 is on sale at Chevy Chase Liquors for just $7.69 a bottle through March 20. (See the slideshow for a representative sample of prices around town.)
“Neprica is an awesome blend of Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon from southern Italy that offers an unbeatable price versus quality ratio,” according to the July 1, 2011 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine, awarding it 90 points. “This rising star of Puglia would pair with meats, pasta or aged cheese and offers clean aromas of ripe fruit, spice and leather.”
Wine Spectator gave it a mere 86 points (still “very good” on the ubiquitous 100-point scale), with the tasting notes: “Spicy black cherry and blackberry notes are fresh and lively, as hints of underbrush and tarry mineral frame the finish.”
The Wine Advocate awarded it 87 points, as did Wine & Spirits magazine, while Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar scored it 88 points, describing it as, “Deep red [with] sexy, clean aromas of floral red berries and red cherry.
“Offers a lush but smooth texture firmed up by an edge of acidity,” wrote IWC’s Ian D'Agata in the March/April 2011 issue.
But the opinion we value most on this perennial stalwart is our favorite wine blogger, Jeff Siegel, a.k.a., The Wine Curmudgeon, who has bestowed his "Wine of the Week" honors most recently to the 2009, along with the 2008, the 2007 and the 2006 in consecutive years.
As he noted when he first recommended it four years ago, Tormaresca – owned by the renowned Antinori family from Tuscany – is a “very reliable producer that understands how to combine quality and value.”
Add its remarkable consistency to those traits, and we’ve got a candidate for our forthcoming Top 5 Italian Red Value Wines.
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