On a recent cold and rainy morning, with piles of snow turning into a sopping mess in the front yard, I decided the best defense was a good offense. Time to make some pasta sauce—by the gallon. With a 6-pound can of peeled, whole San Marzano tomatoes in my downstairs storage closest, the foundation was there. With plenty of fresh garlic, dried oregano from last year’s garden, onions, mushrooms, olive oil and two or so pounds of beef on hand (that I took to my grandmother’s grinder), the stage was set. All I needed was some red wine to add to the mix.
In keeping with the day’s theme, I chose an Italian red from my kitchen wine rack, the 2005 Torgiano Rubesco from Lungarotti. The wine comes from a small vineyard district near Perugia in the province of Umbria. The 2005 vintage ($15) is a blend of 70 percent Sangiovese and 30 percent Canaiolo (this grape was originally a key component in the Chianti blend of Tuscany, but its influence has waned). The wine was fermented in stainless steel, aged for a year in cask, and then bottled.
Rossos di Torgiano must be aged three years before release under the local wine law, and this wine had a distinctive, mature taste, with inky overtones to the dark plum and dried cherry flavors. Ferrous and mineral notes chimed in, as well as plenty of acidity. I used a half-bottle in the sauce and enjoyed the rest with dinner. I rated this wine 87 points, non-blind. And the sauce wasn’t half-bad either.
WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for recently rated Top Values among Italian reds.