Wine of the week – a top drop under $20

Tipple is one of those words I used to loathe and detest but like neon jackets, orange lampshades and platform shoes, the word ‘tipple’ is making a comeback. Call it retro, call it hipster (if you absolutely must) or call it ironic humour, but I like it.

So, without further ado, here’s my top quality, low priced wine of the week…

This is the best under $20 bottle I’ve tried in the past seven days and, better still, it’s sealed with a screw cap, which ensures freshness – important here since this wine has winged its way all the way from the Italy’s hot south west region of Puglia (‘pu-lee-a’). Enjoy.

Saluti Rosso Puglia $15.99, 12.5% ABV

Drinkable Italian wines under $15 are thin on the ground but this newcomer breaks the mould; it arrived in New Zealand this month and is made mostly from Merlot (65%) with Negroamaro (literally ‘bitter black’) providing the Italianesque je ne sais quoi of ripe black fruit, savoury spice and liquorice flavours.

It’s made by a big company in Puglia; the hot, arid, sun drenched heel of the Italian boot, and is imported here by Master of Wine Stephen Bennett; a long time Italiaphile who has opened many doors for Spanish wine in this country. Let’s hope he can do the same for Italy.

Saluti means ‘greetings’ and this one can be found at Belmondo in Lyall Bay, Wellington, hopefully soon at Moore Wilson’s, and also direct by contact Bennett & Deller, phone (09 378 9463.