Tag Archives: Tormaresca Neprica

Wine of the week: Tormaresca Neprica 2012


tormaresca nepricaOnce, the Tormaresca Neprica was among the greatest cheap wines in the world. It was the best-loved wine on the blog, getting the most visitors for any review, and its popularity here even translated into better sales and distribution (or so I was told).

And then one of those things happened that happens in wine, and the Neprica ($12, sample, 13.5%), an Italian red blend, was never the same. Where it had been dark and plummy and even a little earthy, it became soft and too fruity and a little ashy in the middle. Who knows why? Did the grapes come from a different place? Did the winemaker decide to do something different? Was the brand sold (which, apparently, is sort of what happened)?

The result was just another $12 grocery store red wine that tasted like every other grocery store wine. The Neprica dropped out of the Hall of Fame, the number of people who read the reviewed dwindled to insignificance, and the world moved on. I’d taste the wine every year or so to see if anything had changed, and it hadn’t.

Until this one. The Tormaresca Neprica still isn’t what it was, but it is more than another grocery store wine. Look for lots of red fruit, but not so much that there isn’t anything else in the wine. The ashy taste in the middle is mostly gone, and the finish is pleasant if not long. Pair this with red sauce and winter dishes, and be glad it’s worth drinking again.

Wine of the week: Tormaresca Neprica 2010

Background music for this post.

“It’s not going to work any more.”

“What are you talking about? We’ve been together since you started the blog – five years, five vintages. You need me. I need you.”

“I thought I needed you. But we’ve grown apart.”

“How can you say that? We were made for each other.”

“Maybe we were once. But not any more. You’ve changed this vintage ($11, purchased), and I don’t know that I like the changes. Where’s your Italian character, that darkness that made me want you in a way I never wanted another wine? Where’s the plum and earth that made you the blog’s favorite wine for so many years? Instead, you’re jammy and extracted, with gobs of red fruit and almost no acid for balance. I can get that anywhere – even from one of those California tarts.”

“Does this mean it’s over? After all this time, after all the wine we’ve shared?”

“You tell me. Should we give it one more chance, one more vintage? Or is it already too late?”

Wine of the week: Tormaresca Neprica 2009

Dear Tormaresca:

Thank you so much for the 2009 Neprica ($12, sample). It’s a different wine than past vintages — a little darker, a little earthier and a little more tannic. This is not to say that it still isn’t one of the best values in cheap red wine that the Wine Curmudgeon has found. It is, and it shouts, “I’m an Italian wine, damn it, and don’t you ever forget it.” Which we don’t hear enough of these days, unfortunately, in the quest to dumb down wines for the so-called American palate.

The 2009 is just different, and needs food more than some of the other vintages did. In fact, I kept thinking about sausages and tomato sauce as I drank it. With garlic bread and a green salad with a tart, garlicky dressing. And those differences are a treat in a wine at that this price. After all, how much $10 wine tastes numbingly the same, year after year after year?

Sadly, though, I have to tell you that the Neprica will soon lose its place as the blog’s favorite wine. I’m not happy about this, because our relationship goes back to the blog’s earliest days. But the numbers are the numbers, and as the blog has gained in popularity, the Neprica has lost support. Even, shudder, to wines with cute labels. No doubt this is because of the distribution problems that we have struggled with in the past.

But whatever happens, I want you to know that I still care. I’ll always review the wine, and it will always have a place on the blog. Don’t tell anyone, but I can be a sentimental kind of guy.


The Wine Curmudgeon

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