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Grotta Rossa Grotta Rossa 1997 Carignano del Sulcis Red Sardinian Wine ($9.99)
A markedly vinegary whiff didn't bode well for this wine when I pulled the cork and poured the first glass, but perhaps surprisingly, it quickly blew off to reveal a wine much more interesting than I had expected. Very dark ruby in color, its aromas (after the vinegar goes away) blend ripe black fruit, fragrant pepper and pleasant leathery notes. Flavors follow the nose, juicy and tart with fresh-fruit acidity. Very good food wine. U.S. importer: Empson (U.S.A.) Inc., Alexandria, Va. (June 6, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Rib eye steaks.

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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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