Restaurants in Italy's Tuscany region serve 2-pound Florentine steaks, marinated in balsamic vinegar and rosemary. They serve pasta as extra-wide pappardelle with wild boar ragu, or with creamy Alfredo sauce laced with truffle oil.
In a proper universe, such cuisine would be accompanied by great wines. Luckily, this is the case: rich, hearty red wines redolent of black plums, blueberries and mocha, without hard tannic edges or searing acids.
Some of the Tuscan red wines are made solely from the region's most famous grape, sangiovese. Others blend sangiovese with international grapes including cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc to make fuller-bodied wines that many call "Super Tuscan" wines.
2009 Tenuta Frescobaldi di Castiglioni, Toscana IGT: ultra-dark hue, aromas and flavors of black plums, tobacco and cocoa, powerful and smooth; $22.
2009 Brancaia Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG: dark, rich and smooth, with aromas and flavors of black cherries, black plums and espresso; $40.
2009 Brancaia "Ilatraia" Rosso Maremma Toscana IGT: hint of oak, flavors of black cherries and black pepper, rich and smooth; $60.
2008 San Leonino Chianti Classico Riserva, Toscana DOCG: bright red hue, aromas and flavors of tart cherries and licorice, medium body, smooth; $29.
2009 Trerose Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Toscana DOCG: hint of oak, aromas and flavors of red berries, tobacco and spice and big, ripe tannins; $22.
2009 Azienda Agricola Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Toscana DOCG: cherry, cranberry, tobacco and spice aromas and flavors, medium body, soft tannins; $28.
2009 Val di Suga Rosso di Montalcino Toscana DOC: bright red color, lighter body, tart cherry and espresso flavors, soft tannins; $21.
2010 Azienda Agricola Poliziano Rosso di Montepulciano, Toscana DOCG: tart cherry, red plum and spice flavors, with bitter chocolate finish; $15.
2010 Lohsa Morellino di Scansano, from Tuscany's up-and-coming Maremma region, Toscana DOCG: red plum and espresso aromas and flavors, soft tannins, crisp acids; $15.
2008 Brancaia "Il Blu" Rosso Toscano IGT: gentle and smooth, with aromas and flavors of black raspberries and cocoa, ripe tannins; $85.
2010 Brancai "Tre" Rosso Toscano IGT: deep red color, gentle tannins, aromas and flavors of black raspberries and espresso; $23.