Posted by: Dallas Lawrence | April 23, 2011

Molto Bello Estate Veno! (A Very Nice Summer Wine)

Today was one of those rare East Coast treats – a stormy spring day that miraculously blossomed into an amazingly sunny, clear and 75 degree afternoon.

As the afternoon turned to early evening, I headed to the local wine store to find the perfect summer red to pare with some fantastic parrano cheese, salami and Italian olives we had purchased at the local deli.

One of the things I really love about our local wine store is their commitment to a wide variety of worldly wines. On today’s trip I asked for a nice, tasty red wine perfect for an early summer’s happy hour. Not too strong, but not too light. I needed something “just right”.

Much to my surprise our local wine connoisseur plucked an Italian varietal I had never heard of before – a negroamaro varietal.

The 2008 Liveli Vineyards Passamante is a 100% negroamaro wine. The negroamaro hails from my ancestral home of southern Italy and is almost exclusively found in Puglia – an area more commonly known as the “heel” of Italy.

Wines from this region of Italy tend to be defined by an almost “earthy” bite that both open the palate and intrigue the senses.

The 2008 import did not disappoint. As we poured the first tasting, the spice filled “pinot” like consistency of the little bambino roared through the glass. The Liveli offers a nice full bodied taste without the impactful dry tannins of a bold cabernet or the over peppered spices of a zinfandel.

My wife kept referring to the wine as having an almost “fresh” quality. With each glass the wine held its structure and kept refreshing the taste buds with each dark cherry tipped sip. For around $13 a bottle this little Italian treat deserves a seat at your next summer sunset tasting.




  1. Heartily concur with your assessment of this surprising, hardly known, tasty and well-balanced red, a terrific bargain available in the Chicago area for $9.99. Wines from southern Italy have been a pleasant surprise.

    • glad you liked it – know of any other surprising finds out there?

      • Nero d’avola, primitivo, salice salentino, taurasi and many others can be quite tasty from good producers. Italy, as you probably know, grows an incredible number of grape varieties. Although it’s from Molise and not southern Italy, I recently picked up a bottle of Lacrima di Morro d”Alba, produced by Lucchetti, and am looking forward to it.

        By the way, I take it that your heading “Molto Bello Estate Veno” means “very good summer wine.” May I suggest, “un vino squisito per l’estate”?

  2. I’ll second the Cantele Salice Salentino. Had a bottle of the 2007 Riserva the other evening and I now must return for a case. Outrageously long, smooth finish for such an inexpensive wine.

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