Bonny Doon 2002 "Il Circo" Rosso Piceno ($11.99)
Another wacky label from the funny folks at California's Bonny Doon, this one's in their "Il Circo" ("The Circus") series of modest Italian wines packaged primarily for U.S. consumption, and, like virtually all of Bonny Doon's current wine list, comes packaged with a sturdy Stelvin-brand metal screwcap. Very dark reddish-purple in color, it breathes plummy fruit, a whiff of black pepper, and a perceptible but acceptable hint of apple-cider vinegar. It's tart, almost sour on the first taste, but there's plenty of fresh and juicy black fruit behind the acidic tang. Black cherries and lemon-squirt acidity persist into the finish, leaving a hint of drying tannins on the tongue. Rustic and a bit rough, it's an old-fashioned "spaghetti wine" from Montepulciano, a long way from elegant but fun in its nostalgic evocation of old-style Italian-American eateries with red sauce, checkered tablecloths and plastic grapevines. US Importer: Bonny Doon Vineyard, Santa Cruz, Calif. (Jul 26, 2004)

FOOD MATCH: All right but a little too "purple" for a simple roast chicken; I should have saved it for spaghetti and meatballs with Italian-style "gravy."



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