The blend of 80% Negroamara and 20% Malvasia Nera is typical of wines from Salice Salentino, an Italian wine appellation in the boot heel of Apulia. And it delivers the goods quite nicely.
Dark ruby color. Italianate nose of ripe fruit, peels and flowers. Very smooth and rich on the palate. Sweetness of ripe cherries and plums countered by the bitter qualities of black licorice. Leathery, spicy. Long finish. Gets better over the course of half an hour or so at the table. Should improve for at least two or three years.
My experiences with Salice Salentino have always been positive. These wines are always inexpensive--about $10 to $12 a bottle--but this Epicuro bottling was only $5.99 at Trader Joe's--a true steal. After trying the wine, I put a few bottles of the 2006 away to see how it would age. Now, I wish I had put more away. I can't speak for the more recent vintages that are likely on Trader Joe's shelves today, I have always had good luck with Epicuro wines and will be a buyer of both the Salice and the Aglianico whenever I make it to a TJ outlet in the future.