The wine was a 2004 La Valentina Montepulciano D'Abruzzo (Sheesh, these Italian varietals are often a mouthful!). It clocked in at 13.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and cost around $13 at MV Wine and Spirit in Madison, CT.
An unforgiving nose on this one. Some barnyard funk (not in a good way) when I opened the bottle that eventually blew off, but underneath that, there was not much there. Maybe some spice, oak, and currants. In the mouth, the wine was flat, I'm wondering if it was past its prime. I got some indistinguishable dark fruit, spice, but overall it seemed hollow. After a few hours, I found some dark cherry and raspberries, and the wine had finally started to open up. I found it to be terribly bitter and tannic at the beginning, but that gave way a bit as the hours passed (my mom and I drank this bottle and it literally took over 4 hours for us to get through it).
I'm not sure if the wine was too young or too old, but something wasn't quite right here.