What is Negroamaro
Negroamaro is a dark-skinned grape best known in the Puglia region in southern Italy. The wines from this grape tend to show a deep ruby-red color in youth, graduating to richer, darker red after a couple of years. Its aromatics are elegant, and young Negromaro typically displays notes of fresh red cherry, forest fruits, licorice and tobacco.
With some age, the wines take on other aromas like dried prunes, black pepper and some herbal and botanical notes. On the palate, Negroamaro can take on an earthy character, with some spice and occasionally a chunky tannic finish.
The Negroamaro grape is used to produce red and rosé wines, some of which are single varietals and a great many of which are blends. Negroamaro is most often blended with Malvasia Nera, Susumaniello or Primitivo. As a blending component, Negroamaro’s high alcohol and relatively high tannin adds strength to blends that would otherwise be quite light.
Grown throughout Puglia, Negroamaro is most often associated with the southern part of the region: the Salento peninsula. Here, two provinces are known to produce particularly good examples, Lecce and Brindisi. The province of Taranto is always a significant stronghold for Negroamaro production, though to a lesser extent. The region’s Mediterranean climate is warm and has limited rainfall, an optimal environment to cultivate the hardy and drought-resistant Negroamaro variety to ripeness.
Negroamaro is used to produce numerous Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) and Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) level wines throughout Puglia. Perhaps the best known is Salice Salentino DOC, where the Negroamaro variety thrives on the growing area’s combination of clay and limestone soils.
Other revered expressions of Negroamaro can be found in Brindisi DOC, Copertino DOC, Leverano DOC, Squinzano DOC and Terra d’Otrano DOC. Some of these regions also have distinct DOCs for Riserva or Rosato wines, in which Negroamaro also plays a large part. Some notable non-DOC wines include Puglia Negroamaro IGT and Salento Negroamaro IGT.
A limited amount of Negroamaro is grown in California and Australia, but for the most part, it is solely associated with southern Italy.
The origins of the name “Negroamaro” are not precisely known. An approximate translation from Italian means “dark, bitter,” which may refer to the grape’s particularly dark color and its high levels of tannin. Alternatively, it may come from old Greek and Latin, which would approximately translate to “dark dark” or “dark black,” again referencing its color. Synonyms include Negro Amaro, Nigramaro, Negramaro, Amaro Nero and Nicra Amaro.
Negroamaro should not be confused with Negramoll, a red wine grape grown throughout the Iberian Peninsula and the most widely planted grape on the island of Madeira.
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Negroamaro grapes are found in red, and rose wines.