The estate’s flagship 2003 Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale Oro is, as expected, a much more serious wine. It offers notable intensity in its sweet dark cherries, smoke and underbrush with a masculine, somewhat wild personality.
Ruffino is one of Italy’s largest and best-known wineries. Based in Tuscany, it has more than 1,500 acres of vineyards and is now owned by Constellation Brands, one of the world’s largest wine and spirits conglomerates. Ruffino controls a number of estates in Tuscany, including Greppone Mazzi in Montalcino, Lodola Nuova in Montepulciano and Poggio Casciano in Chianti Classico. Ruffino makes a broad portfolio of wines including numerous Brunellos and Chiantis.
Chianti is Tuscany’s most famous and historic wine district, and the Chianti Classico DOCG is the most prestigious Chianti appellation. Fittingly, it is located in the heart of the larger Chianti DOCG. Chianti’s wines were so esteemed during the Renaissance that the Medici princes of Florence designated several villages within the Chianti region as discrete production zones, setting up the first appellations in Italy. By the 20th century Chianti was Italy’s primary wine export. But the pizza parlor Chiantis sent to foreign markets were inexpensive, unremarkable reds presented in round-bottomed, straw-covered bottles. To upgrade Chianti wines and the region’s image, the Chianti Classico DOC was created in 1967, then upgraded to DOCG status in 1984, with additional modifications made in 1996. In the last 20 years a consortium of Chianti Classico producers have researched new Sangiovese clones, replanted vineyards, updated cellar practices and generally made Chianti Classico DOCG a world-class appellation. Chianti Classico must contain a minimum of 75% Sangiovese. In the 2014 edition of its annual compendium of wine ratings, Gambero Rosso noted that Chianti Classico DOCG wines were noteworthy for their “significant return to a more defined style, true to tradition.”
This red grape is largely grown in central Italy. As the sole component or in a blend, it gives us Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Morellino and Super Tuscans, among other favorites wines. The name is derived from the Latin for “blood of Jove.”