Tortarossa (Red Cake) Rosso Toscana 2011, Tuscany
Cost: $14-16
T his is a Super Tuscan blend made by Alessandro Bocci, one of Maremma’s most talented winemakers, in a style that matches the catchy label showing an acrobat doing a one-armed handstand and balanceing a piece of red cake in the other hand.
Tortarossa means red cake, and this wine is as pleasing as any red velvet cake I’ve ever had.
Tortarossa Red Cake.
Tortarossa Red Cake.
It is a beautiful deep red in the glass, with dark fruit aromas. The flavors are rich and deep, with black raspberry and red currant predominant. It is fruit-forward without being overripe. It finishes with a nice balance of acid, making it a great food wine.
The grapes are grown in the Tuscan regions of Montecucco and Maremma. The Maremma gets more than 300 days of sun every year. Scattered over irregular hills, the vineyards are owned by small producers. Oenologist Fabrizio Moltard works with the growers to produce some of the best wines in the region.
The yields are as low as in Bordeaux, and skilled winemakers are producing wines that rival those from the more famous French region. Super Tuscan was a name coined when some growers started planting grapes other than the traditional Sangiovese.
They discovered the climate of Tuscany was well suited to planting Bordeaux varieties, and the result has been many exciting wines.
Tortarossa does have 50 percent Sangiovese, but adds in 20 percent Merlot, 20 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 percent Syrah.
The wine is fermented in stainless steel for 20-25 days, where it also undergoes malolactic fermentation, making the wine even more mellow. It then spends 3-6 months in Slovenian and Allier oak barrels that have been used once or twice. This reduces the amount of oak picked up by the wine. It is further aged 2-4 months in the bottle before release.
I would chill this wine slightly and let it warm up in the glass.
Winery: This wine is in the portfolio of Small Vineyards, a group that says it discovers “the best hand-harvested, family-owned, earth-friendly Mediterranean wine.”
The company believes that the best consistency comes from small estates. If you buy one of their wines, they guarantee the quality.
They list three reasons why small, family-owned estates produce the best wine:
“1. Every grape is actually picked by hand, only the ripest grapes get made into wine. 
“2. Our estates use sustainable growing methods to make earth-friendly wines, 
year-in and year-out. 
“3. By importing wines from family vineyards, we are helping to protect unique 
grape varietals, winemaking styles and preserve a special way of life.”
Tortarossa is perfect for spaghetti.
Tortarossa is perfect for spaghetti.
Goes with: My wife Teri and I had this with a hearty homemade meat and tomato sauce over spaghetti. It was an outstanding pairing. The rich fruit flavors blended with the spices and punch of the meat sauce. It takes a powerful wine to stand up to my spaghetti sauce, and this one handled it easily.
It also would go well with papardelle pasta with bolognese sauce, pecorino cheese or a classic steak.

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