Monday, April 21, 2008

Agricole Vallone Salice Salentino Vereto Rosso Riserva, 2000

This wine comes from Apulia, the stiletto bootheel along the Adriatic coast in the south of Italy. Within Apulia, Salice Salentino is a plateau fairly well known for good, ageworthy wines; in the past, I've had some enjoyable Salice Salentinos from Taurino. This is the first time I've had a wine from Agricole Vallone, but I recognize it as a reputable producer. As the label notes, the grapes are mainly Negro Amaro with a small amount of Malvasia Nera.

The color is a brilliant deep ruby with little or no browning. The nose is very aromatic with a spicy intensity--red and black cherries, cinnamon and licorice. Like many traditionally made Italian wines, it has a slight leathery volatility, but I find this quite pleasant. This wine is clearly mature and ready to roar, but I don't see it fading any time soon. The palate delivers what the nose promises with good fruit concentration on the mid-palate. Silky smooth with racy acidity and ripe fruit flavors that linger long. I love it; can't wait to match it with a big bowl of spicy penne arrabbiata.

Agricole Vallone's Rosso Riserva ordinarily sells for $12.99, a price I would consider quite reasonable for the quality. I found this bottle on the closeout shelves at Hardings Markets for $4.79. Having tasted it, I'm heading back to pick up more.

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