|Accademia del Sole (Italy) Sangiovese/Negroamaro 2000
This stylishly-packaged red comes from Puglia in the heel of Southern Italy. It is a blend of Sangiovese, most famously found further north in Chianti, and Negroamaro, a very traditional and high quality grape of the south. Typically for this area, this is no shrinking violet, with robust, full flavours and a heady 14% alcohol. Accademia del Sole is a venture incorporating family estates from Puglia, Sicily and Tunisia to bottle "single grower" wines from their best fruit, grown organically. The nose is hugely inviting, with deep, creamy tobacco-tinged fruit, plum, berries and a hint of sweet mollasses. On the palate there's a lovely scented cherry sweetness with fine, medium-bodied texture and a broad, gentle acidity. Mellow tannins give a savoury appeal, and this has good length and a smoky, vanilla-edged sweetness on the finish. I note that regular contributor to wine-pages' UK Forum Brian Fletcher, who makes wine in Sicily and the south, had a hand in producing this lovely wine.