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I love Chianti for one reason. The good ones have dusty, baked earth notes that remind me of country roads on warm summer days.  It’s one of those iconic flavor profiles; and this wine has it in spades. But, in addition, the ripe fruit notes glow, the finish is tense and active, with bitter herbal notes supported by ravishing acidity and firm tannins. It’s so Italian you expect Puccini to come pouring out of the bottle.

The classic sour cherry aromas are there but are over-ruled by unusually ripe berry fruit, infused with clove and dried herb, but all in service to those lovely, dusty, earth notes. The palate has a juicy surface but the dry and earthy underbrush gives it complexity, set off by subtle vanilla on the back of the midpalate.  The soft, supple, medium body lulls you into complacency before the big finish hits.

Sturdy yet agile like a great athlete, an outstanding wine. The blend is 80% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Ruffino is one of the most consistent of the Tuscan producers but this Gran Selezione is a cut above their other offerings. Gran Selezione is Chianti Classico’s new designation indicating the highest quality.  The grapes must be owned by the winery, minimum alcohol must be 13% instead of 12.5% for Riserva, and the wine must be aged for 30 months compared to 24 for  Riserva. Like the Riserva, the Gran Selezione must be 80% Sangiovese with the rest made up of Syrah, Merlot,  Cabernet or local varieties such as Canaiolo and Colorino,

There is too much country in this wine to drink with an aria. Here’s a medley of (expertly rendered)  Italian folk music from Domo Emigrantes

Score: 92

Price: $35 available at Wine Chateau

Alc: 14.5%

Industry Sample