25 November 2009

2007 Tormaresca Neprica

Is there a term for those tears of wine that stream down a bottle and ruin the label for photos? Lachryma vino? I'm usually pretty careful about that but this time I was distracted by the delicious food... And I think it kind of goes well with an overall Salvador Dalí look with the sauces.

The Roommate's father has, for the many years that I've lived with her, kindly passed me various packaged meats from his hunting and fishing. This is true locavore organic eating, folks. I've received ducks and bass and various cuts of deer. On this occasion, I was delighted at what appeared to be a perfect sirloin roast. Shot on a Sunday, butchered on a Monday, and cooked on a Thursday. It doesn't get any better than that.

I decided to go for a London Broil approach, and I adapted a recipe from Fletchers of Auchtermuchty. When I want to know about good whisky or good venison, I naturally turn to the Scottish source with the most unpronounceable name. I trimmed the roast and seared it heavily on each side, threw the pan in the oven for the rest of the cooking, and let it rest before thinly slicing. For the sauce, I simmered a soup bone in beef stock for four hours, then added rhubarb for another hour, then strained it all before adding a healthy dollop of black currant preserves and a dash of red wine. A great sauce if somewhat thin. On top of the meat I added a custom mustard made from Penzey's mustard powder, red wine, and a dash of red wine vinegar. Everything was succulent, delicious, and tender, and the various juices created a sauce that went surprisingly well with the Brussels sprouts.

What was the wine used in cooking and eventually served with this noble cervid? The 2007 Tormaresca Neprica, $15, 13.5% abv. This is from Puglia, the bootheel of Italy. 40% Negroamarao, 30% Primitivo, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Hence the portmanteau Neprica formed from the initial letters of the three grape varieties. (Alternate spellings just on the label are Néprica and NéPriCa.)

Slightly vegetal aroma that I wasn't expecting, with just a hint of bacon fat. A little wild and brambly, but such a composition is a great match for game. On its own the wine is a little rough and heavily tannic, but with an aromatic meat and strong sauce, the wine becomes more subdued in comparison. There is a lovely aftertaste of black cherry and plum. I'm not going to lie, you'll have to wrestle with this one a bit, it fights back. But sometimes that's precisely what is needed.

For another take on this wine, check out Fredric's review.

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I hope all of you have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving this year. Eat well, drink well, and enjoy the time with friends and family. Cheers!


ceeelcee said...

Great review! I've really enjoyed reading your posts.

Holler if you ever come up I40 Nashville-ways and we'll grab a glass or two.

Benito said...


Thanks for reading, and have a great Thanksgiving up there in Middle Tennessee!


The Wine Commonsewer said...

I love this wine.

Benito said...


Some of these IGTs, Supertuscans, and other experiments are great examples of why it's fun to break the rules occasionally.

Y'all have a good dinner tomorrow out there in the Bear Flag Republic.


Joe said...

Great read! I've been trying to do a better job keeping up with the regional blogs.

Now I need to go get some venison from the dad-in-law's freezer. Sounds good! And that Neprica is one of my favorite value wines. Great stuff coming out of southern Italy for little coin!

Benito said...


We Southern winebloggers have to stick together.

I love venison, but often it's sort of like "CSI: Whitetail". You look at some chunk of purplish meat and try to figure out what part of the deer it came from. I think that's why so many people make sausage, chili, or stew, because at that point it doesn't really matter.


The Wine Commonsewer said...

Thanks, Ben. Happy Thanksgiving from the Grand Canyon State. :-)

jimwilkerson said...

I like the wine-stained labels - adds character. Cheers!