($45; 13% alcohol; screw cap; 94 points)
’Though some of my best friends are white, I recommend the musk sticks, black olives, aniseed balls, Choo Choo Bars, and Gerlain’s Jicky which swim deep and dark in the funky choco swirl of this voodoo pudding. Negro amaro means bitter black, and though this vinous dream makes me feel so friggin’ pale, never accuse me of a Mayor of Port Lincoln statement. Wild boar stewed with beets and woolly mammoth liver should do it, after an hour in the decanter.
Piana Del Sole Negroamaro Salento 2005
$12; 13% alcohol; cork; 86 points
This is a much more polished wine than the 04: the brett's gone; the wine has come to life. It's still nowhere near as scarily intense as some of the blacknesses Adelaide drinkers will remember Chris Ringland making in Puglia, but it's pretty, perfumed, fresh and highly approachable. In fact, I'd rather drink this, and get two bottles for one of Ringers'. I could get 900 bottles of this instead of one his new R pretences that Dan Phillips flogs, come to think of it. Strange, these Jewish baconmongers. This is clean, juicy, healthy wine for simple pasta dishes without sauce but plenty of chilli and parmesan, and really good green acid oil. Vintage Cellars and 1st Choice exclusively. 08 MAR 09
Piana del Sole Salento Negroamaro 2004
$12; 13% alcohol; synthetic stopper; 83 points
Chris Ringland did not make this wine. It has none of the profound unction, depth and intensity of his negroamaros from Puglia, Italy’s heel, where this was grown and made. But then, a dozen smackeroos makes some difference. There’s a little of the old boilerstoker’s apron in the bouquet, but this faint bretty hint is balanced neatly by peppery spices, dried fig, and black cherry fruit. Maybe walnuts, too. The texture is more syrupy than the aroma or colour would indicate, and slides nicely away. It’s perfect for simple pasta dishes, with the odd black olive. Exclusive to Liquorland/Vintage Cellars. (16.2.8)