Posted by Eugene Mlynczyk, Constellation Brands Canada.
Riserva Ducale Oro on side 560

There are many great wineries in Tuscany, and one of best-known names in the region is that of Tenimenti Ruffino.  On a recent visit to the region, I was reminded of the beauty and yet rugged nature of the landscape, which I feel is manifest in the top drops from the area’s heartland, Chianti Classico.

Ruffino’s iconic ‘Riserva Ducale Oro’ is widely recognized as being part of the top tier in Chianti Classico and boasts the longest modern-day history since  its first commercial release in 1947.  The current release of the 2007 at Vintages marks the wine’s 60th Anniversary, led by  a superb 92 points score from James Suckling, who referred to the wine as ‘full and velvety with a juicy finish’. Many local Ontario critics have also favourably reviewed the wine.

Riserva Ducale Oro LabelSourced mainly from the historic Gretole Estate in the heart of the Chianti Classico district, this wine possesses all the typical dried cherry, sandalwood-nut, and bittersweet herbal notes expected of Sangiovese, followed by nuances of cocoa and spiced plum from a small inclusion of international grape varieties.

The blend is contemporary but authentic:   80% Sangiovese and 20%  Merlot / Cabernet Sauvignon.  Since its first vintage in 1947, this is the only Tuscan wine permitted to have ‘Riserva’ as part of its name due to its long historical position. Nuances of violet and tobacco emerge in the glass, of such finesse that in a recent blind tasting, several ‘super tasters’ picked this as Right Bank Bordeaux.   Certainly, while Riserva Ducale Oro shares stylistic cues with Bordeaux, and a sense of elegance, it is also quintessentially Italian with bitter morello cherry and walnut evident too.

Go beyond convention for your wine matches in this summer’s backyard season, by not just looking to zinfandel or cab sauv, but by choosing Ruffino’s top wine.  Riserva Ducale Oro will age well for 5-7 years+ if you need it to, but is hitting peak maturity now. This wine is only made in the best vintages, and 2007 qualifies spectacularly so.  Food matching?  Try this with a wild boar ragout, which we were served in Tuscany on several occasions, and it made a terrific partner.

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