Crazy for Chianti

Start with the basics

You decide to have Italian for dinner tonight, needless to say to have to have a bottle of Italian wine and you instantly decide – Chianti. This Italian favorite has been around since the 13th century and has delighted people around the world ever since then. But let’s start with some basics.

Chianti, a region in central Tuscany, which is a part of Italy, is mostly made of the Sangiovese grape. Italy, like France, labels its grapes under the regions where they are grown instead of by grape varietal. Chiantis are typically a medium-bodied wine with firm tannins and medium to high acidity. They tend to have overall cherry notes with some floral and nutty characters on the nose. I, of course, have my favorites.

Ruffino Riserva Ducale is a must-try. This wine has an elegant bouquet of cherries, violets and plum. It consists of 80 percent Sangiovese plus equal parts of Cabernet and Merlot. With an alcohol percentage of 13.5, it finishes incredibly clean and fresh. Fort Wayne, this is a must-have bottle if you are having an Italian pasta with a rich, hearty, red, meat sauce. I paired it with a medium-rare burger with provolone cheese and roasted tomato confit. It was to die for.

Another great product from Ruffino is the Aziano Chianti. This ruby red wine is a blend of 80 percent Sangiovese plus Canaiolo and Merlot. It has aromas of light violets and red berries with a mild spicy undertone. The tannins in this wine are a lot more velvety and roll off your tongue. The first time I tried this wine was at a tasting with no food. It was great. The second time I tried this wine was with a thin crust sausage and prosciutto pizza with baby arugula on it; that time, it was better. This wine pairs perfectly with food. Fort Wayne, this is a pick-er-upper.

For my non-red-wine drinkers out there, Ruffino makes a pretty good moscato d’asti and prosecco. Prosecco is a white wine produced exclusively in the eastern part of northern Italy. Ruffino Prosecco is crisp, clean and light with delicate bubbles. On the nose you will pick up floral hints, while on the palate it is more of a refined peach and apple taste. For me, pairing this prosecco was a bit more difficult; however, it was great as an aperitif or with a light summer salad. The Ruffino Moscato D’Asti caught me a bit off guard. Not being a moscato lover as others are, I was very impressed with it. On the nose was a lot of melon while on the palate was a lot of light orange and peach. I had it as an after-dinner drink, but I do think this wine would pair great with spicy Asian food.

It is never too late to break out of your wine shell. As always, wine on, Fort Wayne.

Cheers

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