Nero di Troia & Northern Soul

2 February 2016

Nero di Troia

Native to northern Puglia, around the provinces of Foggia and Bari, this ancient bloom dusted, dark blue/black grape, with its relatively compact bunches of thick-skinned, round berries, has for centuries been more associated with being a ‘BLENDER’ than with ‘100%’ varietals.

WHY? Well perhaps the principal reason is Nero di Troia’s very visible issue during cultivation.

It simply doesn’t ripen evenly or uniformally. Meaning, while it’s earlier than most to change colour during véraison, to reach technological maturity (i.e. the desired balance between acid & sugar levels) it takes somewhat longer.

Naturally this creates a variety of potential problems for the berries (like bunch rot) when left to hang too long on the vine. If this wasn’t enough to deter your grape growing interest, with bunches reaching maturity at different stages, harvest time means you’ve got multiple passes through the vineyard to get a reasonably ripe crop. Costly work. So yeah, you can see why some view blending as an easier bet. But in doing so, they miss out on discovering this grapes SOUL.

Thankfully today the tide appears to be turning. With the new establishment of the Nero di Troia Consorzio, if ever we were looking at an #AgeOldVine #RebornWine, then ‘NdT’ is it.

There’s a new found belief and expertise that is already beginning to coax the best from this grape ‘in purezza’ (that’s 100% to us). Even though its official registered grape name is still ‘Uva di Troia’ (Grape from Troia), the producers have opted to get behind it’s revitalised identity as ‘Nero di Troia’. And you know what, we get behind them on this.

Nero di Troia is already producing exceptional 100% varietals. Elegant reds that are a match for Puglia’s other principal red varieties – Primitivo and Negro Amaro. And word is out further afield too, with some of these soulful showstoppers now stacking up against those better known red rivals from Italy’s very far north. Nuff said.

With it’s recently earned DOCG classification – ‘ Castel del Monte Nero di Troia Riserva ‘ – no doubt this Puglian native is set for bigger and better things.

Keep your eyes peeled though. With currently only 1,900 hectares planted to its name, production quantities will remain low, making ‘RARITY’ a real factor outside of Italy. Of course for the adventurous, it’s the perfect reason to visit Puglia!

Rich in colour (i.e. some serious red/blue/purple antocyanins present), these wines in their youth are dense ruby reds that with age will verge toward garnet, while still holding onto that rich ruby core.

A more youthful ‘NdiT’ will deliver full-on red berry fruits with woodland and dried herb notes. The Riserva meanwhile will offer similar and then some including light spice and tobacco notes, more finesse, complexity and minerality.

With Nero di Troia, in particular its more evolved Riserva style, you’ll discover an endearing elegance that comes with the great structure and texture of this 100% varietal. These are full bodied reds that possess both fresh acidity and refined ripe yet gripping tannins that deliver impact with integrity. Persistant with it, they offer real soulful balance.

‘Nero di Troia’ epitomises Northern Puglia’s Winemaking Soul.

For this architypal #AgeOldVine #RebornWine, rather than Jackie Wilson or some Classic Motown sounds, we’re gonna go with a modern twist of soulful attitude. We’re thinkin’, John Newman ought to do it – ‘Love me again’.

And if our recent tasting of Torrevento Castel del Monte DOC Riserva 2010 Vigna Pedale is anything to go by …many are gonna start to love ‘Nero di Troia’ again and again and again.


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