63100011110_labelHow does one improve on this wine, which was one of the best cheap wines I tasted lasted year? Do the same thing the same way, which is mostly what this vintage does.

The La Fiera ($8, purchased, available at Jimmy’s) is a red wine from the Abruzzo region east of Rome and made with the montepulciano grape (not be confused with the pricier wines from the Montepulciano region of Tuscany, which are made with sangiovese). In this, Abruzzo wines have always been poor relations to their more expensive cousines, but you can’t tell that from the La Fiera anymore.

The 2010 almost smells of violets (really), and retains the wonderful sour cherry fruit and Italian earthiness of the 2009. It’s a little heavier than the previous vintage (though the tannins are proper), but that’s not a problem – just pair it with red sauce and sausages. I’d also chill it a touch. The bottle sat in my 78-degree house for eight hours after I bought it, and the wine was just too warm. I’m pretty sure I didn’t taste all of the of the fruit. Which was too bad, because this is a wine one should get every bit from.

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.