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The heel in Italy’s boot, Salento is in the south east corner of Puglia, the south easternmost region of Italy. It is here, in one of the warmest spots in Italy’s peninsula that we find some unctuous, full-bodied, and spicy red wines for surprisingly good value. None more so than in the hands of the winemakers at the Verso winery, based in the heart of Salento, near to the town of Lecce. The Negroamaro red grape reigns in this corner of Italy, translating as ‘bitter and black’ you get a feel for the sorts of wine it can produce. But at the feet of experienced producers like Verso, Negroamaro is by no means bitter, it is smoky, intriguing, dark, and mysterious with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, warming vanilla and dried figs.

Verso’s Salento Rosso, their primary focus of production, is made from 60% Negroamaro, blended with 35% Primitivo and 5% Malvasia Nera. To Negroamaro’s smokiness, the Primitivo brings stewing berry fruit character and a smoothness to the body, where the Malvasia Nera brings lift and freshness to the finish. In the hot climates that grace this land, Verso don’t have any problem ripening their grapes, the problem comes in making sure the wines are still fresh in the bottle and not overblown with extracted fruit character, full-bodies and tannin. A long-winemaking history and a small team of passionate Puglian experts means that we are in safe hands with the guys at Verso. With just over 30 hectares of vineyards, their wines are consistently excellent and so reflective of this sun-kissed land.

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