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.
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.