Guado al Tasso “Il Bruciato” 2010 (Bolgheri, Italy; $25).
Situated in the Tuscany region of Italy, the Bolgheri wine-growing appellation has been hailed in recent years for its full-bodied reds made from Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Il Bruciato combines those two grapes with some Syrah for one luscious blend. Enjoy ripe blackberry and tobacco notes lifted by baking spices. It’s a balanced and sophisticated find for those who seek dense fruit in a firm structure.
This bottle will do you proud on corkage-fee-free nights at your favorite Italian restaurant. Or gather friends over a dinner-party-worthy beef-based dish at your place. To get conversation going, have everyone guess what grapes are in the wine (it’s 50 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 percent Merlot, and 20 percent Syrah).
P.S.: If your recipe calls for red wine, choose a solid $10-or-under bottle that you would be glad to drink on its own. But don’t use Il Bruciato—save this beauty for your glass.
Relish wine and cocktails columnist Wini Moranville guides you to the best wine and spirits for the money. She is the author of The Bonne Femme Cookbook, Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day.