The famous Black Rooster that signifies Chianti Classico.

By Matt Steeves

I recently enjoyed a structured tasting of Ruffino wines led by the knowledgable and charismatic Beppe d’Andrea, Ruffino’s Global Brand Ambassador, at the ever impressive Social Restaurant in the Byward Market in Ottawa, Ontario.


Beppe d’Andrea, a certified AIS Professional Sommelier, and experienced winemaker, cellar master, viticulturist, and chef, has led a storied career for over three decades now, in Italy, focused on all things wine and food.  Beppe spoke about Ruffino’s rich Italian history, dating back to 1877, and how Ruffino became an icon of Tuscany, and a leader in Chianti, titles they merit more than ever today.  Renowned for their clean and balanced wines, their wines are loved around the world for exactly that.  Exported to 84 countries, only 10% of their production remains in Italy, the balance is shipped internationally to satisfy the world’s thirst for this Tuscan icon.

Ruffino produces stylistically soft, round, and consumer friendly wines, and they achieve this in part by employing gentle winemaking techniques such as using gravity versus harsh mechanical equipment to ensure the fruit isn’t over extracted.  It’s one of many ways they ensure consistently high quality wines produced in a familiar style that’s appreciated around the world.  In fact, Ruffino’s Riserva Ducale, which was first produced in 1927, is the #1 Chianti Classico in the world!  If you haven’t tried it I highly recommend you do (and it’s on sale at the LCBO until November 8th).  Keep your eyes peeled for the release of the Ruffino Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG in December 2015 via Vintages in Ontario.  Planned to be released on December 12th, the timing couldn’t be better for a holiday gift for that special wine lover in your life.  And my personal favourite is their Super Tuscan, “Modus”, a wine first produced in 1997, it’s a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, that offers exceptional value for such a high quality big Tuscan red.  Priced at a fraction of the iconic Super Tuscans (that start at $100/bottle), Modus is a wine that I recommend buying by the case (if you can get your hands on it as it typically sells out within a week or two of its release) and enjoying it now and over the next decade plus.

Modus

Ruffino continues to produce consistently high quality and consumer focused wines and they make a great choice for family meals and holiday celebrations.  Give them a try this holiday season.

Here are some of my reviews:
Ruffino Modus 2011:
Ruffino Modus – an incredible Super Tuscan for the price!
Ruffino Modus 2011 – Ruffino’s Modus has taken the LCBO market by storm quickly becoming a fan favourite with a cult-like following that clears it from the LCBO shelves within days of its annual release. It’s no reason why this Super Tuscan has done so well in Canada. At $29, this wine delivers in every imaginable way. Deep ruby colour, packed with dark fruits, plums, sweet spices, leather, and mint. Full bodied with a soft mouthfeel, this crowd pleasing blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot is a wine to buy by the case. Enjoy with bbq fare, hearty dishes, or my personal favourite with this wine, veal osso buco.
Tasted August 2014. 91 points. Matt Steeves – @QuercusVino
Ruffino's Greppone Mazzi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
Ruffino’s Greppone Mazzi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
Ruffino’s 2008 Greppone Mazzi Brunello di Montalcino, shows notes of sweet tobacco, plum, black cherry, fig, and espresso. Full bodied and well structured, the palate is complex and approachable, indicating it’s in that ideal drinking window now despite it’s relatively young age for a Brunello. A fantastic holiday gifting option for that wine lover in your life that appreciates fine Italian wines. Enjoy 2015-2020 with roast leg of lamb with rosemary, Tuscan-style steak, or Tuscan sausages and beans. Tasted October 2015. 91 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca – look for at in the November 14th Vintages release.
Ruffino’s 2006 Greppone Mazzi Brunello di Montalcino, is a great example of a fine Brunello that after nearly a decade it’s just starting to blossom into its drinking window. Deep ruby red, with notes of plums, cherries, blackcurrant, cedar and sweet tobacco. Full-bodied and full of life, this youthful and bold Brunello has great structure that will allow it to withstand and further benefit from another decade of ageing. For those that can’t wait, decant for an hour and enjoy with roast leg of lamb with rosemary, Tuscan-style steak, Tuscan sausages and beans or pappardelle with wild boar (Cinghiale) or hare (Lepre). Drink 2015-2025. Tasted October 2015. 92 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico

Ruffino’s Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico 2011 – Plums, baking spice, mocha, cedar and leather on the nose. Dark cherry, raspberry, cola, and herbs on the palate. A lovely wine, guaranteed to please any crowd. Enjoy now or cellar for up to 5 years. Tasted February 2015. 90+ points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.caRuffino Ducale Riserva Chianti Classico Availability

In this video, Beppe d’Andrea, Ruffino’s Global Brand Ambassador, describes the origins of the famous Ruffino Riserva Ducale.

Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico Gran Selezione DOCG – $46.95 Vintages December 12 release.
Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico  Gran Selezione 2010 – Plum, cherry, cedar, leather, and graphite on the nose. Superbly balanced, with ample tannins that will allow this wine to age gracefully for 10 years, but why wait when it’s drinking so well now. Tasted February 2015. 91 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2011- Ruffino’s Riserva Ducale Oro is only produced in outstanding vintages, a tradition started in 1947 to showcase the finest fruit from Ruffino’s acclaimed vineyards.  The 2011 sourced fruit from Ruffino’s Gretole and Santedame Estates in the renowned Castellina subregion of Chianti Classico.  Less fruity than the 2010 vintage, the nose is full of fresh sage, violet, plum, dark chocolate, cherry, espresso, leather, and cedar.  Terrific structure, very well balanced, fine tannins coat the palate making this fine wine ideal for rich dishes such as pasta Bolognese or Beef Stroganoff.  Decant one hour and enjoy over the next decade.  Tasted February 2015. 91 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca

chianti-classico-quality-pyramid1

Chianti Classico’s new quality pyramid with the Gran Selezione at the top.
Ruffino IL Ducale
Ruffino Il Ducale 2011 – Medium ruby red in colour. The nose shows sweet fruit, cedar, savoury herbal notes, and pepper. Soft, luscious, and refreshing, a wonderful wine at a great price. Tasted February 2015. 90 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
Ruffino Lumina Pinot Grigio – $13.45 via LCBO
Ruffino’s Lumina Pinot Grigio 2014 is a crowd pleasing fresh and fruity unoaked wine that’s perfectly suited for enjoying on a patio in the sun.  The nose shows sweet orchard fruit, and minerality.  The palate is refreshing with sweet pear and honeysuckle leaving a crisp and clean fruity finish.  Good value at less than $14 via LCBO.  Tasted October 2015. 87+ points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
Ruffino NV Prosecco
Ruffino NV Prosecco
Ruffino’s NV Prosecco – A very approachable (and value priced) Prosecco exhibiting beautiful orchard fruit and a pleasant note of fresh baked bread. Refreshing fine bubbles make this wine great on its own, yet pairs wonderfully with your favourite appetizers. This would make a great house-bubbly to keep on-hand (and chilled) for those impromptu celebrations or just to enjoy on a Friday evening. 89 points. Matt Steeves – http://www.quercusvino.ca
Here’s a neat little guide for pairing Sangiovese-based wine (i.e. practically every red from Tuscany) with food:
Tuscan (Sangiovese-based wine) Food Pairing Guide