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NEGROAMARO

Negroamaro, also Negro Amaro, is a red wine grape variety native to southern Italy. It is grown almost exclusively in Puglia and particularly in Salento, the peninsula which can be visualised as the “heel” of Italy. The grape can indeed produce wines very deep in color.

Wines made from Negroamaro tend to be very rustic in character, combining perfume with an earthy bitterness. The grape produces some of the best red wines of Puglia, particularly when blended with the highly scented Malvasia Nera, as in the case of Salice Salentino.

History

Red grape variety of uncertain origin, perhaps introduced by the Greeks in the Ionian Sea. Its name derives from the dialect  "niuru maru" for the black colour and the bitter taste of the wine made ​​from it. It 's very popular in Puglia, in particular in the provinces of Lecce, Brindisi and Taranto.  It 's the sixth black grape grown in Italy, with about 32,000 ha.

Although amaro is the Italian for ‘bitter’, the name is also thought to derive from two words meaning ‘black’, in the Latin language ‘negro’, and the ancient Greek ‘maru’.

'Maru' shares a root with "merum", a wine brought to Puglia by Illyrian colonialists before the Greeks arrived in the 7th century BC. Horace and other Roman writers mention "mera tarantina" from Taranto, and Pliny the Elder describes Manduria as 'viticulosa' (full of vineyards). But after the fall of the Roman Empire winemaking declined until it was only kept alive in the monasteries - Benedictine on Murgia and Greek Orthodox in Salento.

Negroamaro could be the grape used in merum, or it could have been brought by traders from the home of winemaking in Asia Minor at any point in the last 8000 years.

Negroamaro precoce has recently been identified as a distinct clone.

Recent analysis suggests that it is loosely related to Verdicchio (Verdeca) and Sangiovese.

Wine regions

List of permitted DOC wines

85%–100% Negroamaro:

in the province of Lecce

in the province of Taranto

85%–100% Negroamaro:

in the province of Lecce

in the provinces of Brindisi and Lecce

70%–100% Negroamaro:

in the province of Brindisi

in the province of Lecce

in the provinces of Brindisi and Lecce

65%–100% Negroamaro:

in the province of Lecce

60%–80% Negroamaro:

in the province of Taranto

50%–100% Negroamaro:

in the province of Lecce

15%–30% Negroamaro:

in the province of Foggia

List of permitted IGT wines

85%–100% Negroamaro:

 

70%–100% Negroamaro:

70%–80% Negroamaro:

 

Viticulture and winemaking

The grapes are used exclusively for wine-making. Although 100% varietal wines are produced, Negroamaro is more commonly used as the dominant component of a blend including such varieties as Malvasia Nera, Sangiovese or Montepulciano. These wines are red, or sometimes rosato, and are usually still; though both red and rosato versions may be frizzante.

The vine is vigorous and high-yielding with a preference for calcareous and limey soils but adapting readily to others. It is well suited to Puglia’s hot summers and exhibits good drought-resistance. The grapes, carried in bunches of around 300–350 g, are oval in form, medium-large in size with thick skins, and black-violet in colour. They ripen mid-season (late September–early October).

Environmental and agricultural characteristics and needs

The leaves are large, pentagonal, five or three-lobed; cluster is medium sized, conical, short and tight, rarely with a wing; berry is medium to large, with waxy thick black-purple skin. It has abundant and steady production, it prefers limestone-clay soils, but adapts well to other types of terrain and hot, arid climate.

Diseases and adversity

Rather sensitive to botrytis, easily attacked by moths, is fairly resistant to frost. Not too sensitive to powdery mildew and downy mildew .

 

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