Moonshine and Negroamaro

If you know what these two things have to do with each other, you are on top of your Italian culture! Last Saturday night, the 71st annual Festival di Sanremo, Italy’s annual music festival, concluded with a surprise win. The rock band Måneskin took first prize with a song called Zitti e buoni (Shut up and be good, roughly translated). They blew the roof off the Ariston Theater – but don’t take my word for it (and fuzzy photos don’t do them justice), watch their performance here:

But maybe the most incredible performance they gave was the duet with Manuel Agnelli, which you can see here (clicking is believing!):

Pretty WOW!

My, my. Spotted them – as is my wont – on the first night and knew that even if they didn’t win, they were quite the performers and the song was catchy. Rock is not usually the genre of choice, as this is a festival-competition that favors the classic Italian canzone, usually a love song. But these are tough and different times, and they call for a tough and different solution. Måneskin means ‘moonshine’ in Danish (the female bassist, Victoria De Angelis, is half Danish). But I don’t think they meant the moonshine you can drink.

Another high point in the festival was the appearance of another favorite group of mine, Negroamaro. Yes, they are from Puglia, like the grape and the wine. But they weren’t in the competition, just there on duets night. So great to hear their famous song, Meraviglioso, which if you don’t know, click here!

Belli e bravi!

Negroamaro is one of my favorite wines as well. Rich, round and generous, it is slightly more acidic and structured than its more famous cousin Primitivo. This is a native grape variety in Puglia, but clearly with Greek origins.

In fact, the ‘amaro’ in Negroamaro has nothing to do with ‘bitter’: this black grape is so dark, they named it twice. ‘Negro’ is an Italian and Latin word meaning black, and ‘Amaro’ comes from the Greek word ‘mavro’ meaning once again black. This is one dark grape! It is also the grape variety used for Salice Salentino, another Pugliese wine that I adore.

Nothing like drinking native grape varieties in their home region, Puglia!

Tiptoe through the (Puglia) grapevines with me!

Kudos to the musicians of Sanremo 2021 who continued an Italian tradition, even if it was broadcast without an audience in these Covid times. Still an event that brings people together, as you can ‘chat’ with friends via FB, IG and SMS – trading opinions and comments and even participating in the tele-vote. Funny how the best performances evoked wines and spirits. Wine and song – what more could you ask for?

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