Marchesi de Frescobaldi Castello Nipozzano Riserva Chianti Rúfina DOCG 2011

Ruby red color; blackberry, cherry, blueberry nose; dark fruits, sour cherry, raspberry, menthol on the palate.

Dense, burly; tannins are assertive but not overbearing; nice acidity. Balanced, pure masculine chianti play. Frescobaldi is leading maker of quality Chianti Rufína in Tuscany. They make more refined (and more expensive) bottles, but this outstanding value-for-price pour is leagues away from the uninspired stuff of yesteryear you bought because it was cheap and you wanted the wicker-covered bottle (fiasco) to hold a candle. Made with 90% sangiovese grapes from ancient vines, plus malvasia nera, colorino, canaiolo, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon, the last two adding a dash of international nuances while staying far away from being a Super Tuscan.

If you enjoy wines that proudly assert they are red and chewy and not for the faint of palate, this is definitely a bottle to try. If tannin, sour cherry, and full body intimidates you, then the Nipozzano Riserva Chianti may not be for you—yet. Continue your journey, you may be thrilled when you achieve the moment when your palate finds pleasure in this classic Chianti.

Interesting fact: “Nipozzano” means “without a well” and references areas east of Florence where water is scarce (and the winery is located). In the 1400s, the condition frightened away farmers of many crops, but not wine growers, who knew when vines struggle they deliver magic in the glass. The name is not quite accurate. The Frescobaldi family did manage to dig a solitary well that found water. $21

Frescobaldi website
Second photo: Frescobaldi Castello
Nipozza Riserva Chianti 2011
Frescobaldi Castello