Italian Indigenous Varieties: Notardomenico Nero

This week’s variety is called Notardomenico Nero. I’ve skipped around in the N varieties not going completely in order but I will correct that before the end of the year. I have 8 very important grape varieties that start with N, maybe I can finish before the end of the year. Let’s see. Today’s variety is cultivated in Puglia in the province of Brindisi, a location anyone who has ever taken a boat to Greece during college has probably landed. It is found in the DOC Ottavianello di Ostuni where it is blended with other grapes such as Ottavianello and can also be used as a table grape. In the past it was used to make Rosé wines and often vinified as if it were a white grape variety.

I love the city of Ostuni which I have visited on a couple of occasions. It is a fascinating place. It’s nice to write about a grape from Puglia during the winter months. It brings me back to some amazing vacations and hot weather. I love writing this blog because it helps me to travel back to Italy and to other places on a daily basis.  I have such fond memories of a vacation I spent in the Salento and of my visit to Ostuni, the first town I really visited in that part of Italy. We also visited Rosa Marina, the beach nearby. Amazing places to vacation and really enticing on this cold New York Wednesday. All white, it must have been 50 degrees celsius in the shade that August. I drove to Puglia from Milano with a small group of friends. We spent a lovely week staying in the Salento, eating royally and swimming in the green water that is found all over Puglia. I loved all of it, perhaps not the 3 kg I gained from all that eating but it was such a memorable trip. The people were more than welcoming and the countryside is beautiful but it was the color of the water that I will never forget. I remember seeing pictures of green water thinking it had to be retouched or changed on a computer but it actually was that color green. I felt I was swimming in an Emerald. If you ever get the chance to visit the area, don’t pass it up.

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