Kudos to Trader Joe’s for offering an extremely rare variety from Puglia and at $10 no less! The Ruggero di Bardo Susumaniello.
Susumaniello (yes, that’s a grape variety) from Puglia, Italy. It is pronounced sue-sue-man-yell-oh. The wine is matured in a combination of stainless steel and wooden vats. This variety is grown exclusively in Southern Italy.
The Ruggero di Bardo Susumaniello is available exclusively at Trader Joe’s and sells for just $9.99. Like a lot of the Trader Joe’s wines, the trademark is owned by D’Aquino Italian Importing Company. It is bottled by Femar Vini who also make the Epicuro wines for Trader Joe’s and; in fact, this appears to be the same wine as the Epicuro Susumaniello that is sold in Europe.
Deep ruby red with purple shades. On the nose blueberries and ripe red fruits, underbrush and red flower, then tobacco, aromatic herbs and a light zesty sensation. Elegant and powerful, with ripe tannins, fresh and fruity, tasty and very long in persistence.
Food Matches: Meat starters, first dishes with Porcini mushrooms, game in general, BBQ and medium aged cheeses.
The aroma on the 2017 Ruggero di Bardo Susumaniello is loaded with cherry and all kinds of spice, along with cedar and campfire notes. This one definitely needs a lot of time to open up but when it does you’ll find lots of rich, dark, raisined fruit (it almost tastes like it is made from dried grapes) plus plenty of spice, lots of vanilla and touches of smoked meat. It’s got a distinct, unique taste profile (that my wife did not like at all) and good depth of flavor plus silky tannins. It is bit hot, almost Port-like, but it does mellow out a bit after a couple hours of air. It ends with a dry, lasting finish.
It certainly won’t blow your socks off but major kudos to Trader Joe’s for bringing in an unknown grape like this especially at such a low price.