NEGROAMARO or Negro Amaro is a red skin grape native to the Salento area that sees the area of greatest production in the Salento area, despite having good extensions in the rest of the region. Its uncertain origin is certainly very old and its origin can be traced back to the same of most of the grapes of southern Italy by the Greek colonization that took place starting from the XVIII century BC starting from the Salentine peninsula. By extension, organoleptic characteristics and quality, it is the most important grape of the whole region, and with Primitivo, Aglianico and Nero d’Avola it is one of the best grapes of the whole South. Its vines are among the most extensive in Italy, so much so that they are in sixth place for cultivated lands in the peninsula, counting on as many as 32 thousand hectares of vineyards practically all located in the Salento peninsula. Almost certainly the first nucleus of crops was located on the coast in the southern Ionian part of Salento, where it is currently still widespread. From this area the cultivations quickly spread throughout the Salento, touching areas that are currently at the turn of the Brindisi and Taranto regions. The Negramaro owes its current name probably to the main characteristics that can be found in the vine and in the wine that is obtained, or a dark color of the grapes in the bunch and a bitter aftertaste of almond found in the wine that in modern dialectal language have merged together to give the name of the vine. The etymology of the name, although not yet completely certain, traces the name of Negroamaro to the black adjective that in Latin is niger and in Greek is mavros, then corrupted in dialect in the term niuru e maru or the current negroamaro.
The botanical and organoleptic characteristics of the Negroamaro grape can be summarized in: medium-sized conical-shaped clusters, with tight densities, short in size and without wings. The berries are large, very pruinose and with thick black skins with violet veins. Oval in shape, the berries are very leathery. The productivity is very high and to obtain a high quality of the bunches must be limited with drastic pruning and suitable breeding systems, generally not intensive. To obtain wines of the highest quality, it is then cultivated with the ancient technique known as Alberello Pugliese growth system which amplifies the very great qualities and makes the plants very resistant to the aggression of external factors. The Negroamaro was used until the nineteenth century for the cutting of both French and northern Italy wines to provide color to merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. This is because in the Pugliese region there was little awareness of the potential of their grapes, and farmers were more occupied in secure supplies than in uncertain vinification and marketing of their products, which would have engaged them in long-term projects. The change of direction occurred in September 1957, when northern Italy gave up the use of Negroamaro. Since then, a process has begun that very slowly at the beginning and very quickly from 2000 onwards brought the Salento peninsula through the use of negroamaro to excel in the world in terms of quality and quantity of the wine produced.
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