An Italian restaurant that produces a good marinara sauce ranks high on my list, and the marinara on the Pescatore Linguine I had last week at Lucrezia Cafe in Chesterton, IN was one of the best I've ever had. So it should come as no surprise that this little restaurant just off I-94 between Chicago and Kalamazoo has an excellent wine list as well as an innovative, ever-changing menu.
You'd hardly call Toscana Santa Martina Rosso a "super Tuscan" since it sells for about $10 a bottle. But, with 40% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet and 20% Syrah, it varies from the traditional, prescribed Tuscan blend and, as a result, can't be labeled "Chianti." "It's earthier than Chianti," the waiter told me, and I agree. It's also more complex and enjoyable than most Chiantis of the same price range. It reminds me of a good Cotes du Rhone Villages (such as a Rasteau), which is usually my choice for drinking with a good marinara sauce.
Dark color, almost impenetrable; has probably spent some time in new oak but the smells and flavors are all centered around the strong fruit. Pepper, red and black fruits, an appropriate degree of earthiness. Full bodied feel that is just perfect for the rich, rich, wonderful marinara sauce. I'll look for this wine on the retail shelves. The marinara sauce? I'll just have to come back to Lucrezia Cafe.