Maru was one of Castello Monaci’s first wines: a monovarietal based on one of the area’s leading native grapes, Negroamaro. There is an ongoing debate regarding the meaning of the name of this variety: some say it is a repetition of the word for “black” in two languages: “niger” in Latin and “mavros” in Greek; others believe that “amaro” (bitter) refers to the wine’s grassy, often slightly rugged aftertaste. In Salento dialect, Maru means “austere”, “dark”, referring to the severe qualities expressed by the grape.
PRODUCTION DISTRICT: Salice Salentino (Lecce).
ALTITUDE: 30 metres above sea level.
TYPE OF SOIL: Deep, dry clayey soil with limestone tuff. Average yield is 80 quintals per hectare.
TRAINING SYSTEM: Short-pruned, bush-trained, and spurred cordon.
HARVEST: The grapes are hand-picked in the early morning, in mid-September.
WINEMAKING METHOD: After crushing, the grapes are fermented at a controlled temperature in stainless steel vats, with 10 days’ maceration and scheduled pumping over.
AGEING NOTE: After malolactic fermentation, part of the wine is matured for 6 months in second- and third-fill French oak barriques, while the rest remains in stainless steel.
SENSORY PROFILE: Ruby-garnet colour. Very vibrant, well-balanced aromas with hints of Mediterranean scrubland and eucalyptus, and nuances of black berry fruit and pipe tobacco. The palate shows full, tangy, minerally flavour, velvety though slightly bitterish, rounded and beautifully structured.
RECOMMENDED CELLARING: 6 years in bottles laid down in a cool, dark place.
FOOD PAIRING: Perfect with stewed horsemeat in sauce; highly recommended with pasta (sagne ‘ncannulate), meatballs with sauce, chick pea soup, roasted or stewed red meats (lamb and goat).