Vigna del Lauro Friuli Isonzo Cabernet Franc 2017

I sample a couple thousand wines a year, thanks to trade tastings and competition judging, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never come across a cabernet franc from Italy. And I sure hope the Vigna del Lauro Friuli Isonzo Cabernet Franc 2017 ($18) won’t be the last one. Besides being delicious (love the dark berry flavors and pepper notes), it’s surprisingly refreshing for a cab franc, with a smooth, almost elegant midpalate and finish. Bonus points for the low-alcohol content (12.5 percent). It’s best served with 30 minutes in the fridge beforehand, maybe more if the weather ever warms up. Then bring out appetizers, any preparation of fowl or pork or (this being an Italian red) pizza.

Available at Sunfish, Wine Thief, France 44, Thomas, the Wine Shop, Cellars (Stillwater) and others.

Bill Ward