Bera 1999 "Sassisto" Langhe ($16.99)
This is a very dark reddish-purple wine, almost black in the glass, showing the typical earthy character that's commonplace in Northwestern Italian reds: "tarry" and "black-coffee" notes over austere black fruit, with a delicate floral scent akin to violets. Mouth-filling and tart, plummy fruit is present but not as forward as the bright, lemony acidity, with soft but perceptible tannins in the background. US Importer: Pellegrini Bros. Wines Inc., South San Francisco, Calif. (Mar 22, 2004)

FOOD MATCH: The dark, earthy flavors of duck make a fine match with Piemontese reds, and this one was no exception, offering fine service with prepared duck-leg confit (Grimaud Farms brand from Whole Foods Market), shredded in crisp potato pancakes.



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