Negroamaro: Italian grape name pronunciation project


This week is going to be “Apulia” (“Puglia”)* week here on the blog: after Tracie P and I traveled to the Veneto and to Friuli in February, I headed — for the first time — to Apulia where I spent a few days with my friend and client winemaker Paolo Cantele. That’s Paolo’s voice above, speaking the grape name Negroamaro.

When Paolo and I met for the first time nearly two years ago (when we first became friends), we had a long discussion on the etymology of the ampelonym Negroamaro, which Paolo and I believe means black black and not black bitter as subscribers to the grape name’s folkloric etymology often report. Here’s the post on Paolo’s thought and my treatment of the grape name’s etymon.

When I met with Paolo in February, it occurred to me that one of the most commonly mispronounced Italian appellation names is Salice Salentino: SAH-lee-cheh SAH-lehn-TEE-noh. I asked Paolo to pronounce it properly for my camera and hence was born the “Italian Appellation Pronunciation Project.” Note that Salice is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable of the word. (BTW, I’ve composed an overview of the origins of the toponym Salice Salentino here, for Paolo’s blog.)

Even though I’ve studied the grapes and wines of Apulia (and I even worked for 3 years as the media director for an Apulian restaurant in NYC, I Trulli), I’d never traveled to the region until recently. The thing that impressed me the most was the ubiquity of olive trees. I’ll have a lot more to say about olive groves and the wonders of Apulia this week (“Apulia Week” at Do Bianchi!). But in the meantime, you’ll note that in the videos above, the olive groves are endless as Paolo and I drive from Lecce along the highway to the airport in Brindisi…

* Even though editorial convention in the U.S. has popularized the usage of Puglia, the proper English toponym for the geographical district that forms the “heel of Italy’s boot” is Apulia (from the classical Latin Apulia or Appulia).

7 thoughts on “Negroamaro: Italian grape name pronunciation project

  1. Do you prefer Puglia or Apulia and will you elaborate on your preference? This is indeed a big week for me on your blog as you well know my passion for this region. Cantele is our home winery and the house wines on all our programs in the region :-)
    I believe I met Paolo one day after you and am I right that was also the day I met you? Paolo is one of my favorite people in the biz and I am glad you are helping to put him and the lovely wines of Cantele on the American map.

  2. My best friend from when I was a kid (and hopefully I will be in his company this coming weekend) has an apartment in Lecce (where he will be jetting off to on Maundy Thursday). I hope to visit there with him one of these days. Looking forward to Apulia week (although I will be spending some of it on a plane).

  3. Love this! I also just returned from my first trip to Puglia and the Salento region. My friends have heard nothing else about my month in Italy, only about those days in Lecce & Salento. I, too, was struck by the neverending stretch of olive groves as we drove. Looking forward to Apulia week here.

  4. @Michael H I definitely prefer Apulia but Puglia has become the convention… Paolo is a great guy: we’re hosting a 40th (!) birthday party for him at our house in ATX on May 24. Yall should come in for that… Thanks for the words of encouragement.

    @Vinogirl it’s good to have friends in high places! Can’t wait to hear your impressions of Lecce! Do tell!

    @Food Lover Kathy Lecce and Salento were revelations for me. I can’t wait to get back. Always digging your blog! :)

  5. Pingback: Paolo pronounces “Negroamaro” and “Salice Salentino” for Do Bianchi’s pronunciation project | Cantele Wines

  6. Pingback: Mignon Potenza

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