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Chianti ... Rufina
Renzo Masi 1998 Chianti Rufina Riserva
A message from eRobertParker.com

Chianti ... Rufina

Next time you've got out your wine maps, take a close look at Chianti.

This favored wine region, a personal favorite, hangs down from Florence almost all the way to Siena, bulging like a sturdy wineskin filled with fine red wine, with the favored Chianti Classico zone occupying its central region, and a group of other Chianti producing regions around it.

But then look well off to the upper right (northeast), where a smallish, single zone perches to the east of Florence, well separated from all the rest.

You've found your way to Chianti Rufina, an odd branch of the Chianti family tree that's well worth getting to know.

Not to be confused with Ruffino, a similarly named but unrelated producer of regular Chianti, Rufina is a separate zone that, for one reason or another, was incorporated with its other Sangiovese-based cousins when the Chianti region was "delimited" (defined as a specific wine region under law) several hundred years ago.

Blessed with a distinctive climate and soil, Rufina's long, warm and dry summers foster the development of fruity, structured wines that stand up particularly well to aging. It certainly is Chianti, like its neighbors. But the addition of "Rufina" on the label signals that its special status ... and the good news is that these wines are often available at a very reasonable price. Today's tasting is just one good example. You'll find quite a few other good Rufina producers, and they're worth seeking out.

Renzo Masi Renzo Masi 1998 Chianti Rufina Riserva ($12.99)

Very dark ruby color, blackish-purple at the center. Ripe black-cherry fruit and spicy oak aromas, textbook Chianti. Full, juicy fruit flavor is consistent with the nose, so ripe it almost seems sweet, but with plenty of lemon-squirt acidity to give it balance and make it sing with food. U.S. importer: HB Wine Merchants, NYC. (July 5, 2002)

FOOD MATCH: Excellent match with a Pugliese-style pasta dish of cauliflower with tomatoes and garlic over penne, a riff on a recipe seen on FoodTV's "Molto Mario."

VALUE: A price that's more than fair for an accessible, enjoyable Chianti Rufina.

A message from eRobertParker.com

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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002
Copyright 2002 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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