This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Friday, Jun. 27, 2008 and can be found at http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20080627.php.
Uva di Troia
Pronounced "Oo-vah dee Troy-ah," Uva di Troia is a particularly obscure grape variety from Puglia, the "boot heel" of Southern Italy, a region probably best known for Primitivo, the Italian equivalent of Zinfandel.
The name of the grape is literally translated "Grape of Troy," signaling a purported association with grapes brought over from ancient Greece. But at least one expert - the irrepressible Randall Grahm of California's Bonny Doon vineyards, which bottles an Uva di Troia under its "Il Circo" label - claims that "Troia" also means "lady of the night" in the sailors' slang of Bari, Puglia's seaport city.
Juicy and ripe yet earthy and tannic, with a distinct scent of violets, it's an attractive and interesting wine. Sadly, it's hard to find, and like so many of the older indigenous grapes of the world's wine regions, its acreage is shrinking as growers shift over to more commercially profitable varieties. You'll find my tasting notes below.
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Santa Lucia 2005 Vigna del Melograno Uva di Troia Castel del Monte ($14.99)
Very dark reddish-purple, clear garnet edge. Earthy and rustic aromas, a pleasant whiff of "barnyard" with some sappy, stemmy herbaceous notes play harmony, but there's plenty of juicy red-currant fruit in there, too. Tart red fruit is more dominant on the palate, with plenty of food-friendly acidity and a distinct edge of tannins. An attractive hint of something like spring lawn violets emerges in the long finish. Complex and interesting, a fine food companion. U.S. importer: Vintner Select Inc., Mason, Ohio, and other regional importers; from Marc de Grazia. (Jan. 13, 2008)
FOOD MATCH: Try it with grilled meat or poultry. Earth meets earth in a very good match with garlicky roast turkey thighs.
VALUE: More than fair at this mid-teens price.
WHEN TO DRINK: Its ultra-short natural cork suggests a wine not intended by the producer for long-term cellaring.
WEB LINK: The winery Website is available in Italian and charmingly accented English. Here's a link to a fact sheet on the Vigna del Melograno Uva di Troia:
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