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Ocone Ocone 1998 Vin Giocondo Vino da Tavola Rosso ($7.99)
With the holidays behind us and things returning to routine (even writing "2000" on checks and memos doesn't seem so strange any more), it made sense to take a break from the fancy wines of the holidays and pull the cork from a modest but quaffable Italian table wine. The label says it's made from "ancient varieties of red grapes in the best tradition of ancient Naples," and that may be, although the grapes aren't named. It's a clear, ruby-colored wine with simple but pleasant red-fruit aromas and flavors. Soft, juicy and bright, it's easy quaffing and rates, in my book at least, well above the level of "plonk." U.S. importer: Vin Divino Ltd., Chicago (Jan. 1, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: A very good match with a pesto rosso of sun-dried tomatoes, black olives, garlic and olive oil on pasta.

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All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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