Sometimes you just grab a bottle at random. Such was the case with the 2006 GRU Montepulciano d'Abruzzo. $12, 13.5% abv. With the crane design on the front I thought there was an Oriental connection somewhere, but it's all Italian. Made in the Abruzzo region due east of Rome from the Montepulciano grape.
When looking it up later I found out that it's the house red for Carrabba's Italian Grill, meaning that I've had it once or twice during business dinners. It's got a sharp tannic quality, and firm acidity for a red, combined with some plum and black table grape flavors.
For dinner I fixed a light salad with blueberries and grapes and small sourdough croutons. I had some leftover bits of steak, which were chopped up and mixed with my vegetable risotto. Nothing special there, but I had a pound of arborio rice and a pint of organic chicken stock in the cabinet. A few frozen veggies chopped up and blended in, a bit of seasoning here and there, and a handful of parmesan towards the end.
I didn't grow up poor and Italian, but a simple meal like this thrown together out of leftovers has a filling and pleasurable quality all its own.