Tuesday, 23 February 2010

San Pellegrino l'Aranciata Amara

San Pellegrino l'Aranciata AmaraMade by: San Pellegrino SpA

Origin: Italy

Imported into the UK by: Nestle Waters UK Ltd

The San Pellegrino spring is located in the town of San Pellegrino Terme, North of Bergamo, in the province of Lombardy, Italy. The official spring water bottling company was formed in 1899, and diversified into sparkling soft drinks as early as 1932. An Amara or bitter version of the orangeade was launched in 1949, to mark the company's 50th Anniversary.

The Amara is an intense, matt orange colour with yellow highlights, fading out to a clear watery rim at the very edge of the glass. There is a fine sediment of orange fruit in suspension, and the drink is steadily sparkling when poured out.

The primary aromas on the nose are warm and juicy; here we have freshly sliced Navel oranges with a drop or two or Grand Marnier. As the drink opens up in the glass the impression is much fuller, one of whole oranges: Zest, flesh, pips, even leaves...a whole orange grove. A sharper note suggests grapefruit.

'Amara' translates as 'bitter', and on the palate this really delivers. From an initial burst of mouthfilling, ripe orange flavour with a fresh acidity, there follows a long, controlled transformation to bitterness. The zesty bitter taste sensation, derived in part from Quinine (Chinona tree bark extract), is similar to the experience of eating Kumquats.

There is a lovely flavour concentration here, entirely refreshing and helped no doubt by the high juice content at 15.6%.

Amara is a uniquely invigorating, enlivening drink, and leaves a mouthwatering sensation behind. Within the overall balance, the palate is both stimulated by the acidity levels (felt on the sides of the tongue), and by the extraordinary bitterness (felt at the back of the tongue). The long finish is to be savoured.

Packaging claims: New formula with 30% more orange juice, no preservatives, no artificial colourings

Ingredients: Water, orange juice (15.6%), glucose-fructose syrup, sugar, carbon dioxide, acidity regulator citric acid, natural aromas, Chinona extract

Price: Should be about £0.80-£0.90 for a 330ml can, available from Italian delicatessens, specialist retailers and online

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