La Casaccia 2004 Vigna Monfiorenza Monferrato Freisa ($11.49)
This clear, dark garnet wine's aromas offer an intriguing blend of fruit, fresh herbs and earth. Delicate wild strawberries add a faint licorice note of fresh tarragon, with distinct red-clay minerality in the background. It's crisp and bright on the palate, subtle red-berry fruit and a distinct waft of white pepper against a light backdrop of earthy tannins, with crisp acidity lingering in the finish US Importer: Selected Estates of Europe Ltd., Mamaroneck, N.Y. (May 20, 2007)

FOOD MATCH: Red meat, grilled poultry or even game would be ideal, but I paired it, with surprising success, with a cool salad of fresh asparagus brought up to meet a red wine with Asian accents, a soy-ginger-garlic dressing with a basil aioli and a dab of Chinese fermented black beans.

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