Cantine Ceci 2004 "La Luna" Lambrusco ($14.99)
In a very old-fashioned presentation, the cork is tied down with clean white twine, a low-tech version of the Champagne bottle's wire cage. The cork extracts with a standard corkscrew, however, and comes out with a subdued pop. The wine is an inky dark purple color, almost black, and it pours out with a bright and very persistent raspberry-color froth. Black plum aromas tickle the nose with a touch of fizz, and there's just a hint of earthy "barnyard." Cherry-berry flavors are barely sweet, more prickly than fizzy, shaped by crisp acidity and a distinct peach-pit bitterness in the finish. At 11 percent alcohol, it's on the light side for a table red but carries more weight than low-alcohol, mass-market Lambruscos. It's a fine quaffer. US Importer: Rosalie Sendelbach Imports, Kerhonkson, N.Y. (Oct 9, 2006)

FOOD MATCH: Traditionally sipped as an aperitif or pizza wine, it remains one of my favorites for hot-and-spicy dishe. It worked remarkably well with spicy red beans and rice with hot andouille sausage, and even when I dosed it up with additional hot sauce as an experiment, the wine kept pace.

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