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Cheap, everyday Italian wine

Asked recently about the development of Marco Maci's IGT Salento "Luce Barocca" from the 2007 vintage, I realised I hadn't tasted this wine recently although I have had both the "Fra Diavolo" 2004 (Primitivo) and the Copertino "Duca d'Antene" 2001 (Negroamaro) from this estate in recent weeks and was impressed by both. The Fra is getting more interesting every time I taste it with its sweet, brambly fruit and underlying tar. The Duca is one of the best straight Negroamaros I have had at this price point, very stylish, sweet and sour and no hard edges at all.

So, what about the Barocca? The issue raised concerned a slight spritz in the glass when it was first released. Maybe, but (a) that is a sign of low sulphur use (unless, of course, the wine is refermenting which certainly is not the case here) and (b) that was two years ago so, surely, it has gone by now? The only way to answer the question is to crack open a bottle, of course.

Well, no complaints here. For a sub-£6 bottle of southern Italian magic, this is really very good. Remarkably fresh for such an inexpensive wine - really, I could see myself enjoying this in another five years, maybe more. The tell-tale fruit of the Negroamaro/Malvasia blend presents itself extremely well but, as always, it is the depth of the wine that never ceases to amaze me. At this price, most French wines would be too thin, Spanish wines too clumsy, Australian wines too blowsy and Chilean wines just plain nasty (I have been tasting a lot of cheaper wines recently!) but this pitches itself perfectly for a simple pizza or pasta dish.

Now to try the Rioja again...

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