Daily Archives: September 21, 2012

2007 Epicuro Salice Salentino Riserva

(This is a review of the 2007 vintage. The current vintage on sale is 2009, which I reviewed over here.)

Epicuro’s wines have been my go to Italian reds since I moved to Ann Arbor. They are reasonably priced ($5.99, I believe) and easily available at Trader Joe’s. I actually had my first sip of an Epicuro during my last weeks in Germany, when  my friend who gave me the Scharzhofberger, brought this wine for a dinner I had cooked. I had seen the bottles before, but it being such a mass label, I never tried it. They have a row of wines, differentiated by the color of their labels:

Red is a primitivo; blue is a nero d’avola; silver is an aglianico; and gold a salice salentino. They also produce a white, a vermentino.

I am not fond of their aglianico and nero d’avola, but I thought the 2008 vintage of their primitivo was great. A nice table wine, chewy and interesting, we had it for many BBQs and other evenings of just drinking wine. The currently available 2010 vintage, however, does not fit my taste. It is quite sweet, something that 2008 did not have to that degree. I don’t think I will keep buying that wine. But there still is the 2007 Salice Salentino Riserva…

Salice Salentino is a red wine from Southern Italy and has had DOC (denominanzione di origine controllata) status since 1976. The village it is named after is in the heel of the Italian boot. The main grape in a salice salentino is negroamaro, which is generally described as a rustic and earthy grape.

This red has 80% negroamaro and 20% malvasia nera in it. It has 13% ABV.

It poured as a medium to dark red. The nose was alcoholic and perfumy, with hints of leather. On the palate, I first noticed how nicely chewy this wine was. I then got cherries and herbal tastes, as well as rather strong leather and tobacco notes, which gave the wine depth. It had good acidity and the tannins came through well. A long finish made it a really enjoyable wine on a later evening. To me, this is definitely the star of the Epicuros.

As I indicated in Wednesday’s post, I had never had red wine with my risotto, so I gave it a try. And oh man, this really worked very well with the earthy flavors of the mushroom risotto. I wish I had paired them to begin with, but by the time we opened this one, I was already stuffed…

I will definitely be stocking up on this wine. Who knows how long it will be around, being a 2007 vintage? At $5.99, there is hardly anything wrong with it. It definitely tasted like a more expensive wine.

Photo taken from leftovers the next day. That said, I do like my risotto less creamy than most American chefs.

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