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Its very name indicates that Negroamaro wine is dark (negro) and bitter (amaro). And it does indeed have a very dark colour and an almond-like bitter flavour. Once the tannins have fully resolved, the grape develops aromas reminiscent of dark chocolate. Negroamaro is commonly used as a blending variety, but it is increasingly being vinified as a varietal wine too.

Negroamaro: at home in the heel of Italy

The Negroamaro grape variety is an indigenous grape variety from Apulia, a region in the far south of Italy. The grape is mostly grown in the “heel of Italy”, around the towns of Brindisi, Taranto and Lecce. It is often very hot there when winds from the Sahara blow across the Mediterranean. The constant sea breeze brings cooler air at night, however.
Negroamaro has probably been grown in Apulia for over two millennia and has thus been able to gradually acclimatize to the heat. In the 1990s, around 30,000 hectares of Negroamaro vines were planted as for many years it was commonly used as a blending partner to give other red wines a stronger colour. In the meantime the practice of adding colour with other grape varieties is now deprecated so plantings have declined.
Outside Italy, Negroamaro is found in very few other places; there are only some smaller pockets in Australia. There too, the grape benefits from its ability to withstand severe heat. It is also resistant to mildew.

Wine from Negroamaro: strong and dark

Negroamaro yields wines that, although not quite black, are very dark indeed – one of its signature traits. The flavour is also more to the taste of those who prefer muscular wines. Tannic, high-alcohol red wines with great ageing potential are vinified from the Negroamaro grape. The grapes ripen mid-to-late season and Negroamaro wines are high in alcohol.
The powerful, bittersweet flavour is accompanied by aromas of plum, cherry and tobacco spice. Negroamaro’s intense bouquet makes it a good match for spicy dishes, game and strong cheeses.

Negroamaro wines