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Try a wine made with the sangiovese grape for a perfect pairing with pasta and red sauce.
Sometimes when shopping for a bottle of wine, you just have to roll the dice and hope for the best. I had been to the supermarket the other night, was about to get into my car and suddenly remembered that I needed an Italian red for our dinner, a pasta dish with a fresh tomato and basil sauce. Fortunately, there was a liquor store across the parking lot, but I went in with only modest expectations. Like many chain stores, this one was heavy on well-known brands – not the place for low-production, artisanal wines I like to uncover. But sometimes it doesn’t matter.
The goal was to find an inexpensive wine with decent acidity that would hold up to the tomatoes, a challenge for which I almost always turn to Italy. After a quick look around, I decided to go with a $9 red from Tuscany. Luiano’s 2010 Rosso Toscana turned out to be a great match for our pasta dish and a real value, almost as satisfying as any number of Chiantis and other Italian reds I’ve tasted at somewhat higher prices.
Now, for $9, I wasn’t expecting much complexity. What I wanted was a relatively light red with delicious fruit and, as I said, refreshing acidity. And Luiano’s Rosso, or red, provided just that. Made from Tuscany’s signature sangiovese grape, the wine is aged in stainless steel with no exposure to oak, which accounts for its fresh and fruity character. I chilled it slightly, which made it even better on a sweltering August evening.
The wine had quintessential sangiovese tastes, including cherry and black cherry along with subtle leather, earth and spice notes. For $9, this is one to buy by the case to have on hand for the next time you need the perfect inexpensive wine for a simple pasta dinner. Imported by Opici Wines, Glen Rock, New Jersey
Want more suggestions? On Vint-ed this week, I review a top American pinot noir from Oregon’s Chehalem Winery.
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