This wine loves Italian food, what can we say? Homemade pizza with mozzarella and salsiccia, or a plate of pasta piled high with meat sauce. Dark cherry, blackberry and plum aromas abound tempered with chocolate, spices and Tuscan herbs, Nesios Toscana, has the elegance of Sangiovese with the force of Cabernet and demands to be enjoyed with food like this classic lasagna.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb. Italian sausage (sweet or hot), casings removed
- 1 large yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 28 oz. can whole, peeled tomatoes
- 1 28 oz. can whole, crushed tomatoes
- Kosher salt
- 5 lbs. fresh mozzarella, grates or shredded
- 16 oz. whole milk ricotta
- 1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling on top
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 lb. dried lasagna noodles (avoid the no-boil variety)
- Olive oil
- For the sauce: Heat oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over a medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes until brown but not crisp.
- Add onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for eight to ten minutes until the onion is softened and translucent.
- Add tomato paste and stir for two minutes until it’s turned deep, brick red, tinting the oil and onions.
- Using your hands, crush the whole tomatoes into bite-size pieces and add them and the crushed tomatoes, stirring to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pot. Fill one of the tomato cans halfway with water and add it to the pot. Season with salt and pepper then let it simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and the flavors come together.
- Make the lasagna: Heat the oven to 375°F and set a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Set aside one 1 cup of mozzarella. In a medium bowl, combine remaining mozzarella, ricotta, 1 cup of Parmesan and cream. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Cook lasagna noodles in the large pot of salted boiling water before they’re al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain and separate any noodles that are sticking together, add a little olive oil to prevent further sticking.
- Spoon a bit of sauce on the bottom of a 3-quart baking dish and top with a layer of noodles, avoiding heavy overlap.
- Top with 1 ¼ cups of sauce then dollop ¼ of the cheese mixture on top. Top with another layer of noodles and repeat three times, ending with the last of the noodles and last of the sauce. Top with your reserved 1 cup of mozzarella and more Parmesan.
- Cover loosely with aluminum foil and place baking dish on a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Bake until pasta is completely tender and cooked through and sauce is bubbling around the edges, typically 30-40 minutes.
- Remove foil and increase temperature to 450°F. Continue to bake for another final 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown on top.
Tuscany is home to Italy’s most famous IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) category. Sangiovese is the all-star of Tuscany, that derives its name from Latin as ‘the blood of Jupiter (Jove)’, the most widely planted grape in Italy. The hot, dry climate in Tuscany provides an excellent home for this thin-skinned grape, producing a rich and long-standing wine. It’s known for being fruity and naturally acidic and best enjoyed with the excellent cuisine of Italy.
During the 1970s, the term ‘Super Tuscan’ emerged, as result of frustrations of winemakers towards the slow-changing wine laws in Italy which prohibited the blending of non-indigenous grapes. In 1992, IGT was finally created, allowing winemakers to be more creative. An IGT Toscana guarantees that at least 85% of the fruit was sourced from the region. Half Sangiovese and Cabernet, this Super Tuscan pairs well with Italian food, fresh cheese, grilled cheese and pizza.
“Deep ruby red in color. Spices, chocolate blended with blackberry, plums and mature cherry on the nose. Full-bodied and harmonic, structured with enticing and velvet softness. Elegant finish.” – Andrea Bernardi, winemaker
Winemaker: Andrea Bernardini
Appellation: Tuscany, Italy
Varietal Blend: 50% Sangiovese, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon
Analysis: 13.5% alcohol / volume
Critical Acclaim: 96 pts The Best Italian Wines, Luca Maroni 2017/2018