Ruffino is a well-known wine brand in these parts. They are known for their entry-level Chianti but also produce some pretty serious Chianti that can age and show great complexity. Take this bottling of their Riserva Ducale Oro, for example. The “Oro” bottling is only done in the best years. 2007 was indeed one of them, and it also happened to be the 60th anniversary of the Oro bottling.
As with many wine producers in the 21st Century, Ruffino has been bought out by one of the major global wine conglomerates, Constellation Brands. The crafting of this wine is unique, in that the grapes were picked in 2007 prior to the sale. While quality remains high and the Folinari’s remain at the head of the operation, I can’t help but notice that the wine has changed to a more modern style in recent vintages. Perhaps it’s partially influenced by global warming but there also appears to be a trend away from the more traditional style of Chianti Classico that this wine represents.
To be honest I don’t tend to shell out for Chianti Classico or Sangiovese. I can usually get behind a Brunello, but given that this wine had a Brunello range price tag on it I decided to do some research before just jumping right in. I saw a lot of mixed reviews on the wine. Lots of polarizing comments and conflicting reports on whether the wine still displayed enough fruit to keep the wine in check. Clearly I decided to pull the trigger. So how was it?
The wine is made with 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot depending on the vintage. The wine is aged for 36 month in oak, followed by some aging in stainless steel and concrete. Dried cherries, plum, leather, forest floor, tobacco and herbs are the primary characteristics on the nose. The palate is much the same with further licorice and dark chocolate character. The tannins in the wine have fully integrated and the wines acidity, which hits just below medium + is enough to carry the wine and refresh the palate. I’m loving the mix between the dried cherries and the ripe plum here. The body and alcohol are medium and the finish is right in that medium + range that I would expect of a wine of this price point and quality. Despite some conflicting reports I’m glad I picked up this bottle. I would drink it again but I don’t think it’s getting any better. I would also be weary of the wines provenance, as proper cellaring can make all the difference and likely did make all the difference in this case.
Have a favorite Chianti producer? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
When it comes to drinking white wine I often find it hard to get excited about what’s in the glass. I rarely encounter a bad or undrinkable white wine but it’s just not something that I jump at the chance to drink. On this blog and on Instagram I do tend to post a reasonable amount of Riesling, cool-climate Chardonnay or the occasional Chenin Blanc but the fact is these are the outliers. That’s why when I was first introduced to the unique Austrian grape variety, Gruner Veltliner, I wasn’t holding out much hope for the quality of the wine in the glass. It was truly a wine revelation for me, a few months prior I didn’t even know that they made high quality wines in Austria. The next thing I knew I was drinking one of the best damn white wines I had ever had. Now I know it’s a no-brainer to pick up a Gruner when I see one on the shelves.
This producer in particular is one I’ve been wanting to try for awhile. While this is Ott’s entry-level wine it’s still very well made and is grown in Wagram, which is located in the south of Austria. It’s yet another wine made with little intervention that uses natural yeasts and not a whole lot of sulfur.
This wine displayed the varieties distinct white pepper both on the nose and on the palate. The wines medium + acidity helped to lift the lemon, zest, citrus blossom and pear aromas that were displayed both on the nose and palate. The mix of lemon and pepper seemed to present almost like ginger on the nose. A touch of cream and chalky minerality help round out this wines flavour profile, which is quite delightful. The finish doesn’t quite stick around but this is a great wine for the price.
Have you ever had a Gruner before? What did you think?