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Taurino Notarpanaro 1998
"...exhibits a distinctive earthy nose of creosote, scorched earth, pepper, spice, black cherries and licorice...with abundant glycerin, power and richness..."
-Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, World's Greatest Wine Values
The excellence of these wines is owed to the indigenious varietals, Negro Amaro and Malvasia Nera. Taurino recognized that these brawny varietals, with a little bit of respect and care in vineyard and cellar, had great potential. Yields in the field were drastically reduced and new equipment and modern fermentation techniques were implemented.
Never content with the status quo, Cosimo experimented. Enamored with the density of the Veneto's famous Recioto della Valpolicella Amarone he decided to find out what would happen if Negro-Amaro and Malvasia Nera were treated in the same way. Hence, Patriglione which has become the flagship wine of the estate. This wine and the others reflect the intensity that the Taurinos have demonstrated in achieving their goal: The production of Puglian wines to be admired and respected.
Named “Oenotria” by the ancient Greeks for its abundance of grapevines, Italy has always had a culture that is virtually inextricable from wine. Wine grapes are grown just about everywhere throughout the country—a long and narrow boot-shaped peninsula extending into the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. The defining geographical feature of the country is the Apennine Mountain range, extending from Liguria in the north to Calabria in the south. The island of Sicily nearly grazes the toe of Italy’s boot, while Sardinia lies to the country’s west. Climate varies significantly throughout the country, with temperature being somewhat more dependent on elevation than latitude, though it is safe to generalize that the south is warmer. Much of the highest quality viticulture takes place on gently rolling, picturesque hillsides.
Italy boasts more indigenous varieties than any other country—between 500 and 800, depending on whom you ask—and most wine production relies upon these native grapes. In some regions, international varieties have worked their way in, but their use is declining in popularity, especially as younger growers begun to take interest in rediscovering forgotten local specialties. Sangiovese is the most widely planted variety in the country, reaching its greatest potential in parts of Tuscany. Nebbiolo is the prized grape of Piedmont in the northwest, producing singular, complex and age-worthy wines. Other important varieties include Montepulciano, Trebbiano, Barbera, Nero d’Avola and of course, Pinot Grigio.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.