Sangiovese is the signature grape of Tuscany, where it plays a leading role in red wines from Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and most other appellations in this central Italian region. It also often dominates in wines classified as Toscana Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT). This category has fewer restrictions than other appellations and allows winemakers freedom to use grape varieties that are not traditional to Italy. Below are two examples of very good, everyday Toscana IGT wines that would go well with pizza, pasta and tomato sauce.
Ziobaffa 2013 Toscana IGT
Bought • Dierberg’s, 8450 Eager Road, in November for $14.99
Description • This rich, lively red, which earned 91 points from wine critic James Suckling, is made from 80 percent sangiovese and 20 percent syrah organic grapes. The wine is unusual because syrah is not often found in Tuscan blends. The combination, however, results in a fresh and fruity red with distinctive herbal notes. A delicious wine with character and finesse, it has light tannins and ends with a long finish. The bottle also features a reusable cork that can be twisted open without a corkscrew.
Monte Antico 2013 Toscana IGT
Bought • Dierberg’s, 8450 Eager Road, in November for $9.99
Description • Monte Antico consistently earns high marks from critics and is one of my go-to wines for casual Italian meals. This medium-bodied red is made from 85 percent sangiovese, 10 percent cabernet sauvignon and 5 percent merlot, which is a more common Toscana blend. Aged one year in oak and six months in the bottle before being released for sale, this is a silky, smooth easy-to-drink wine with soft tannins. It tastes of black cherries and plums with hints of vanilla and spice.