Sips: From organic grapes, Di Giovanna’s charming $11 ‘Gerbino’ red wine from Sicily

After three days of holiday entertaining, a simple pasta sauce and a (hopefully) decent, inexpensive red wine were on tap for our dinner the other night. The pasta would be based on some of the Sicilian red tomatoes I picked in late summer and early fall, then skinned,  seeded and placed in Ziploc bags for freezing so that we might  enjoy them at this time of year and early into the new year. Believe it or not, freezing retains a remarkable amount of the tomatoes’ original taste; you simply thaw them and simmer them until most of the excess liquid that results from freezing is cooked off. Then, in another skillet, sauté some chopped garlic in olive oil, add the tomatoes and, in this rendition, a fistful of chopped fresh basil and oregano. The result: a summer reprise in late December.

As for the wine, I came across one at my neighborhood wine store that I hoped would fit the bill: Di Giovanna’s 2009 “Gerbino,” an $11 Sicilian rosso, or red wine, made from a blend of organic nero d’avola and “other international varieties,” according to Di Giovanna’s website, hence its IGT designation. With a little aeration, the ruby-red wine, named for one of Di Giovanna’s vineyards, opened up beautifully, revealing charming cherry and blueberry fruit, good acidity and a fine tannic structure that supported its lengthy finish. It was simply delightful, particularly on its own; alas, it was fairly mismatched with my tomato sauce, which overpowered its delicate fruit. It would have been better with chicken or pork or even a seared steak. In any event, I was grateful to find a very affordable new red wine that was a pleasure to drink. Alcohol is 14 percent. Imported by Montecastelli Selections, New York.

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