Less briny and acidic than many Italian reds, more of a good, full mouthful of ever-so-slightly aging fruit, but still bearing that whiff of the barnyard that makes Italian wines so interesting. Delicious with something involving mushrooms, butter, and olive oil. Or save it for a big thick hunk of lasagne, one fine Sunday afternoon. Or both.
Oddly, the label tells us nothing about the wine, per se. It relates, instead, the story of the razing of the town of Otranto by an army of 18,000 Turks in the summer of 1480, and of the valiant conduct of the townspeople, who accepted martyrdom rather than convert to Islam as demanded by the Turkish leader Acmet. Otranto, or Taranto, is found along with the town of Copertino in Apulia, on the heel of Italy's boot. Nearby is Lecce, whose name we read in the fine print on the label as the wine's actual address: bottled by C.V.A. s.r.l. -- Monteroni di Lecce, Italy.
"Copertino D.O.C." identifies this wine as having been made according to certain legal specifications for the Denominazione d'Origine Controllata around Copertino. Generic research in turn reveals that the grape variety used here is primarily negro amaro ("black bitter"), with some malvasia nera -- a red variety of malvasia, not to be confused with the white malvasia that makes Malmsey, the sweetest, richest of madeiras -- added. However, the winery's website specifies that in this case montepulciano is the variety partnered with negro amaro.
And about that name, "Rocca dei Mori." Such a good firm name. What does it mean? "Rock of" something, I would think. Mori -- not "death," I hope? Then again, 18,000 Turks ....
Retail, about $14.