2016 Corsiero Nero

This week's wine comes from my fiance's NPR wine club subscription. It's a 2016 Corsiero Nero made from Nero di Troia grapes. This wine comes from Southern Italy, specifically the heel of Italy's boot, and the grapes are named for the town of Troia. This town has a rich and interesting history. It is said that this town was founded by the Ancient Greek hero Diomedes, after he destroyed Troy in famous Trojan war between Troy and Greece. Diomedes founded about a dozen cities in Italy after the Trojan war, and he refused to send his cities into battle for Aeneas. Instead, he wanted to live peacefully Italy. I don't blame him, if I could relax in Southern Italy with good wine being made all around me, I wouldn't want to disturb that.

The town of Troia's history isn't just interesting for Ancient Greek buffs, it also says something about the Nero Di Troia grape. The grape isn't native to this part of Italy. The grape is from the Adriatic area, and Diomedes would have sailed up the Adriatic sea to get to Southern Italy after the Trojan War. Legend is that Diomedes brought the Nero di Troia grape vines with him after the fall of Troy, and replanted them in his newly settled kingdom in Italy. Needless to say, this is a grape that has been around for a looooong time.

Sorry if you're not interested in Ancient Greek history, I'll move on to the actual wine now. If you like Cabernet Sauvignon, you'll like this wine. It's big, bold, fruity, oaky, powerful, and it packs a punch. When I stuck my nose in my glass of wine I picked up notes of bold red fruits; raspberry, dark cherry, and strawberry, and also notes of violet, a hint of vanilla, and oak. I could tell just from the smell that this was going to be a big wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Touriga Nacional. When I took a sip, that impression was confirmed. I picked up even more fruit on the front note, blackberries and blueberries with the red fruits, and there was definitely an undercurrent of violet to the fruit notes. On the back end, it was a bit spicier and smokier than I expected based on the smell. The vanilla note played well off the smokiness, and the oak was there with some pepperiness and a bit of a tobacco note. This wine was well balanced with strong tannins. This wine is very in your face, but in a good way. I really enjoyed it.

I paired this wine with a plate of spaghetti and meatballs in marinara sauce. I grew up learning how to cook from my very Italian mother, so whenever I'm drinking Italian wine I like to eat Italian food with it. This wine would also go well with a steak or with some smoked gouda.