From the David Sterza winery in the village of Fumane outside Valpolicella comes this vibrant Valpolicella Classico Ripasso. When Sterza inherited the family estate in 1998, he opted not to sell the grapes, as his family had done for generations, but to make and bottle his own wine. Good move: Sterza is producing terrific Amarone and Valpolicella, both great values.
Amarone almost demands an important occasion. Valpolicella does not. It's a wonderful everyday wine for less than $20. Fresh and vivid, it tastes of ripe dark berries, earth and smoke. Lovely drinking now, with a wild mushroom risotto, roasted guinea hen or duck, grilled sausages or braised meats.
Region: Veneto, Italy
Price: About $18
Style: Rich and ripe
What it goes with: Game birds, sausages, venison, braised meats, wild mushrooms
Where to find it: BestWinesOnline, (888) 817-8880, http://www.bestwinesonline.com; Duck Blind Fine Wines, Beers and Spirits in Santa Monica, (310) 394-6705, http://www.duckblindfinewines.com; Valencia Wine Co. in Valencia, (661) 254-9300, http://www.valenciawine.com; Vendome Wine & Spirits in Pasadena, (626) 396-9234, http://www.vendomepasadena.com; Wine Exchange in Orange, (800) 76WINEX, http://www.winex.com; and the Wine House in West Los Angeles, (310) 479-3731, http://www.winehouse.com.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times