La Gioiosa 2001 "Duca Leonardo" Montepulciano d'Abruzzo ($3.99)
Dark garnet, with reddish-purple glints. A distinct volatile note almost like acetone dominates when the bottle is first opened, but happily it blows off quickly to reveal dried cherries and spice. Light-bodied but juicy fruit flavors are snappy and fresh, with crisp acidity lingering in the finish. Simple and a bit rough, it's a "spaghetti wine" to be sure, nothing to collect or contemplate. But it's a fun wine, evoking memories of happy Italian meals, and blows away the competition in the low-budget niche. US Importer: La Gioiosa USA, Atlanta. (Jan 5, 2004)

FOOD MATCH: A classic with red-sauced spaghetti or pizza; it went well also with a simple dinner of mortadella and provolone with hot, fresh-baked Italian bread.

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