I recently ran across an intriguing wine from Villa Toscano in nearby Plymouth. The winery’s lively, medium-bodied 2009 Montepulciano features an Italian varietal we don’t often see here in California. The grape – planted throughout central and southern Italy – often produces an inky-purple wine with fairly low acidity and gentle tannins, making it an excellent and easily-approachable quaff for everyday enjoyment. Villa Toscano’s Montepulciano had a distinct pepperiness that enlivened the soft plummy/cherry flavors, with a hint of violet and an enticing earthy/ripe berry finish. I would pour this lovely wine with lasagna, any meat ragù-based pastas, eggplant Parmesan, prime rib of beef or roast leg of lamb.