The Punchy Italian Red That Every Bowl of Winter Pasta Needs

Wine editor MARY DOWEY recommends this ITALIAN RED on special offer as her bottle of the week …


Carrione Salice Salentino 2016

Around this time of year there is such a strong focus on ritzy Christmas bottles that the fact most of us still need everyday wines at everyday prices sometimes seems to be forgotten. This southern Italian red from the Spar group is so appealing, so well priced and so perfect with winter food that it deserves to be snapped up and enjoyed any old time.

Salice Salentino, a small wine region in Puglia on the heel of Italy, makes robust red wines mainly from the Negroamaro grape. While some can be rustic or jammy and over-alcoholic, Carrione is a svelte middleweight with a silky texture and impressively fine tannins. The only heavy thing about it is its fashionably weighty bottle.

Precisely because it’s not built as a whopper, it’s the kind of wine that you’ll keep going back to, perhaps wondering why your glass seems to be emptying itself. And you’ll also find it accommodating from the point of view of food, its rich, spicy flavours suiting punchy pasta dishes and pizzas, hearty vegetable or meat stews or pretty much anything featuring sausages or crispy bacon.

Just bear in mind that it does need food of some kind to taste its best. This is a red to serve with a meal – not one to choose for a party with the occasional handful of passing nibbles. With that sole caveat it’s a brilliant buy – even at its normal price but especially while on special offer.

Alcohol: 12.5%

From Spar, Eurospar, Mace and Londis, usually €12.99 but on special offer only at Eurospar, €10.99 until December 27.


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