Wine review: 2009 Masciarelli 'Marina Cveti' Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

Southern Italy is full of undiscovered gems with tremendous quality for the price. This Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (not to be confused with the much pricier Vino Nobile di Montepulciano) from the Masciarelli estate is one such wine. The vineyards are worked organically, the way the family has always done it. Made from the indigenous Montepulciano d'Abruzzo grape, the 2009 Masciarelli "Marina Cveti" is rich and full-bodied, tasting of crushed blackberries and cherries, with a touch of tobacco and earth. The vanilla comes from new French oak barrels, an extravagance at this price level. And the long finish? Well, that may derive from the 25-year-old vines.

Pop open a bottle to go with grilled steaks or chops. It would be terrific with grilled duck breasts too, or pappardelle in a duck ragù.

Region: Abruzzo, Italy

Price: $25 to $27

Style: Rich and full-bodied

What it goes with: Grilled steaks, duck breast, chops, pasta with meat sauce

Where to find it: Duck Blind Fine Wines, Beers and Spirits in Santa Monica, (310) 394-6705,; Greenblatt's Deli & Fine Wines in West Hollywood, (310) 656-0606,; Wine Exchange in Orange, (800) 76WINEX,; and the Wine House in West Los Angeles, (310) 479-3731,

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