Wine of the Week: Mezzomondo Negromaro Salento 2009

First an apology to regular readers: I’ve been on the gravy train. I have been wined, dined, flattered and pampered, and as such have been writing about bottles that are outside the remit of the impecunious amateur. From now on I am going to write about wines I can afford*; there aren’t many, I am so poor at the moment that I tried to borrow money off my little brother (if you have met my little brother you would realise quite what desperate straits I’m in.)

Which brings me onto my wine of the week, I was meeting some old friends at Adams Café in Shepherds Bush – this does good and, more importantly, cheap Tunisian food and, more importantly still, lets you bring your own wine. One of my friends writes a food blog so I was worried that she would spend the whole time photographing the food rather than listening to my woes. Thankfully she had not brought her camera with her and sat spellbound as I regaled her with complaints about publishers who had rejected my book.

The wine I brought was a Negromaro from Salento in the far South of Italy. Negromaro is the name of the grape variety and means black and bitter. It costs £5.50. This is a crazily small amount for such a good wine. It’s full-bodied but not in any way soupy or porty – some Southern Italians can be clumsy. There is some taste of vanilla that suggest the wine has been aged in oak, some nice fruit and a zingy vein of acidity that went well with the rustic North African food. This is a grown-up wine; so much more interesting than anything from the New World at this price. I am sure I’ll say it again but Southern Europe really is the best hunting ground for the impecunious amateur.

Waitrose are offering 25% of 6 or more bottles until 28th June.

*PR people – don’t worry I am very weak-willed. If you give me something deliciously expensive to drink and say that you like my blog, I am sure that I’ll write something.

About Henry

I’m a drinks writer. My day job is features editor at the Master of Malt blog. I also contribute to BBC Good Food, the Spectator and others. You can read some of my work here. I’ve done a bit of radio, given some talks and written a couple of books (Empire of Booze, The Home Bar and the forthcoming Cocktail Dictionary).
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6 Responses to Wine of the Week: Mezzomondo Negromaro Salento 2009

  1. Philippa Chandler says:

    That is my kind of budget. Thankfully I’ve moved on from the two-for-a-fiver bottles of wine I used to buy from The Lion King Off Licence* but I still can’t bring myself to spend more on wine than I do on a months’ personal grooming*. Thanks for the post!

    * Honestly, that is what the off-licence was called. You’ve got to realise, this was Haringey.

    ** This is actually a joke, because my monthly personal grooming budget is basically “three bars of soap and a bottle of shampoo divided by twelve”.

    • Henry says:

      My favourite off-licence name is the Booze Nest on Holloway Road. Imagine how safe and warm you would be in a next made of booze.

  2. Chaz Folkes says:

    Well, I was so impressed by your review that I’ve gone and splashed out on a case… Actually, the combination of the accessible starting price and the rather generous discount means that we’re only paying 11p more per bottle than we are for the football hooligan’s Australian Shiraz at our local Sainsbury’s, and with free delivery we don’t have to heft it back to the flat.

    The Waitrose wine catalogue makes interesting reading. Along with a good selection from France, Italy and the New World, there are a couple of Lebanese wines (Musar one of them) a bottle from Kosovo, and also one from Georgia, a country I’m glad to see getting a toe hold on wine shelves over here.

    Chin chin!

    • Henry says:

      That is good news. Now Waitrose will have to invite me to their tastings.

      Did you buy any of the Georgians? Like Portugal or Greece, they have a great selection of unique indigenous grape varieties. Every so often there is an article saying ‘Georgia – the next big thing?’ but it never quite happens. There’s some Georgian wine in our local East European shop but it looks a little Soviet. Perhaps I should be brave.

      • Chaz Folkes says:

        I had a few glasses of Georgian wine last year courtesy of the Georgian Wine Society ( and it was superb. Unfortunately, we only went for the Italian this time.

        Back in the day, Georgian wine was very popular in the Soviet Union, but due to various disagreements between Moscow and Tbilisi it’s no longer available in Russia. I shall keep an eye out for it in East European shops though…

  3. Pingback: Wine of the Week: Mezzomondo Negromaro Salento 2009 « rowensalemy

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