Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico 2012: Crimson color; cherry nose; lively cherry, red berry, raspberry, leather, tea on the palate;
full body, racy acidity, nice minerality, tasty-velvety tannin; 2012 was excellent vintage in Tuscany’s Chianti country (provinces of Siena and Florence); this effort honors that gift from the vineyard gods. Riserva Ducale has become a standard for well-made, complex, affordable Chianti. Ruffino is a benchmark maker, dependably committed to quality, a reason Italian wines are respected around the world. The wine is 80% sangiovese, with merlot and cabernet sauvignon adding some softness and character. After malolactic fermentation, the wine is aged two years in oak, stainless steel, and concrete vats, followed by a minimum of three months in bottle before it is released, thus the riserva designation. “Ducale” comes from the Duke of Aosta, who fell in love with the wine in the late 1800s; the wine thus became “the duke’s reserve.” The name first went on the label in 1927. Ruffino is the only Italian wine legally allowed to include “riserva” in its name. Aosta is a small, bilingual region in the Italian Alps, in the extreme northwest of Italy. The duke is the person depicted on the iconic label. This is tasty delight made for royalty and average folks alike. $21
Second photo: Chianti region Italy.