Rosso di Rocca Vino da Tavola ($16.00)
A blend of the traditional Northwestern Italian grapes Nebbiolo (80%), Barbera (10%) and the less traditional Cabernet, this table wine doesn't qualify for a vintage label, but the back label discreetly discloses "2004 harvest." Clear dark garnet in color, it shows dried-fruit and floral notes, a combination oddly but pleasantly reminiscent of hard candies. Simple and fresh on the palate, red fruit is shaped by tart acidity; a rather high (14%) level of alcohol adds body and warmth. No "Barolo lite," it's very much an international-styled wine, not a surprising thing for shipper Marc de Grazia. US Importer: Vintner Select, Mason, Ohio, and other regional importers. From Marc de Grazia. (Jan 24, 2006)

FOOD MATCH: This big, robust red would work well with red meat or even game; I risked a vegetarian option, using a variety of cheeses to bring the dish up to the wine: Broccoli rabe with a rich, earthy Mornay sauce featuring a blend of French cow's milk Laguiole cheese and Italian ricotta salata, spooned over a bed of mashed potatoes, dusted with Parmigiano and broiled.

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