3 Italian red wines to enjoy now

The 2010 Avignonesi Grifi Toscana IGT ($60) marks The 2010 Avignonesi Grifi Toscana IGT ($60) marks the refined return of an excellent red blend. Photo Credit: avignonesi.it

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Daylight saving time arrives on Sunday, so your evenings will be sunnier. Three Italian red wines are sure to make them even better.

The 2010 Avignonesi Grifi Toscana IGT ($60) marks the refined return of an excellent red blend. It's 60 percent sangiovese, 40 percent cabernet sauvignon. This accessible, slightly herbaceous, ruby-hued Grifi Toscana is the first since 1996 and rewards your reacquaintance with plenty of red fruit and enough spine to age well, too. Avignonesi also makes first-class Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Enjoy the Grifi Toscana with grilled sirloin steak, a lush steak alla pizzaiola, braised beef and pasta Bolognese. And it will elevate beyond measure your favorite chicken, veal or eggplant alla Parmigiana.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

From a superior vintage comes the 2008 CastelGiocondo Brunello di Montalcino ($70), also ruby-shaded and ready. The 100 percent sangiovese is produced by Marchesi de' Frescobaldi. The brunello delivers ripe fruit, some floral notes, and a fine match for red meat and red sauce. Pasta Bolognese, a vegetable risotto, stews and venison also pair neatly with the medium-bodied choice. So do Parmesan and Pecorino Romano cheese, either with pasta or solo.

The plummy, full-bodied 2011 Ruffino Modus ($25), half-sangiovese and a quarter each cabernet sauvignon and merlot, is a hearty, drinkable-now red with traces of spice. You'll like it with tomato-based sauces and the whole line of Parmigianas except shrimp. Modus is the right company for a major pizza, Sicilian, Neapolitan or Grandma-style.

You also may be interested in:

More coverage

New wines and spirit suggestions Drinks