Showing posts with label Chianti. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chianti. Show all posts

Monday, March 20, 2023

Selvapiana Chianti Rufina Hits All The Right Notes

Selvapiana Chianti Rufina Hits All The Right Notes

Selvapiana Chianti Rufina (DOCG) Vendemmia 2020, 13.5%ABV

RRP €25.99. Avoca. Neighbourhood Wines. Mitchell & Son. 64 Wine. Sweeney's D3. Power & Co Fine Wines. Blackrock Cellar.

You’ll notice that this wine is designated DOCG, the highest in Italy. Rufina is one of the sub zones of Chianti and got its DOC In 1967 and the DOCG followed in 1984. Today the Chianti Rufina appellation, extending over 750 hectares, is the smallest appellation of Chianti.

A small area then but with quite a wine, made from the Sangiovese grape, the key grape in Chianti and the most planted in Italy as a whole. You may well be surprised that it is planted so widely in the country but it comes under a number of aliases including Carmignano, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Chianti, Torgiano Rosso, Montefalco Rosso, Rosso Di Montalcino, Morellino Di Scansano and Rosso Conero! Confusing for sure.

This vibrant ruby red sees blackberry and cherry feature in the aromas, along with herbal and spicy notes. It is elegant on the palate where it is ripe and juicy (with red fruit flavours) and where its typical refreshing acidity help maintain the superb balance all the way to the charming finish with its floral notes. Elegant and precise and with good length, this Chianti Rufina is Very Highly Recommended, especially if you like the lighter styles.

Rufina may be a sub-zone in Chianti but is a highly regarded.  Its best wines are a match, some say more than a match, for those from Chianti Classico. This producer is one of the best and produces the wine from the area’s famous Sangiovese grape (with a touch of Canaiolo). It is aged for 12 months, some in steel but most in oak casks and barriques.

The usual advice is to buy your Chianti from Chianti Classico, the name given to wines from the original historic boundaries. But Wine Folly writes: Both Chianti Classico and Chianti Rufina are likely to be of higher quality, since they are made in smaller quantities from distinct historical areas. Our Rufina certainly underlines that point.

By the way, if you come across an olive oil from Tuscany with Selvapiana on the label, it is from this same producer and is superb. It is not just a sideline here as in many vineyards. The estate covers 250 hectares, 60 of which are planted under vine (95% being Sangiovese), 36 are olive groves, and the rest is covered by woods.

This Rufina is Very Highly Recommended.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

May I Introduce Two Handsome Italians: Gavi and Chianti

 May I Introduce Two Handsome Italians:

 Gavi and Chianti


Cinzia Bergaglio La Fornace Gavi (DOCG) 2020, 13%, 

€19.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

This is a 100% Cortese  from the Tassarolo vineyard in Gavi. Colour is a light straw yellow with green tints. Delicate, fresh and fragrant neatly sums up the nose, typical of the grape, floral, and with notes of lemon and apple. It is well balanced between savoury and acidity on the palate. Peach and apricot figure, along with almond notes, in the pleasant finish with a dry finalé.

Le Caveau tell us that, for years, the Bergaglio family has been producing grapes which they sold in bulk, until 2002, when Cinzia decided to bottle her production. “Cinzia's vision is to farm following organic principles, the farm uses products with a low environmental impact, the vineyards are fertilised with green manure: among the rows, Cinzia grows a mix of herbs and various vegetables.”

The Cortese grape that yields this light-bodied white wine is grown in Piedmont and virtually nowhere else. It is known also as Cortese de Gavi or just plain Gavi. I’ve had some lack-lustre Gavi over the vintages but happy to put this on my Highly Recommended list. Piedmont is best known for its reds including Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto.

Geeks Bits

Vineyard: Tassarolo

ABV: 13%

Serving Temperature: 10-12 degrees

Pairing: appetisers, cocktails, seafood (especially with basil and lemon), soups, fresh cheese.


Innocenti Chianti Colli Senesi (DOCG) 2016, 13.5%

€18.95 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

Ruby is the colour of this blend of Sangiovese (mostly) and Canaiolo Toscano, a DOCG wine from Chianti deli Colli Senesi. Plum leads the way in the aromatics. On the palate, there’s quite a wash of spice with cherry now heading the fruit flavours. It is slightly tannic with excellent acidity all the way to a fresh finish. Highly Recommended.

It is a versatile food wine and should go well with roast chicken. Le Caveau have a list from Tuscany: Try this with ribollita, a bread-thickened bean and black cabbage soup or pot roast pigeon cooked with sage and spiced luganega sausage with stir-fried fennel or braised celery.

The estate lies between Montepulciano and Montefollonico. The cellar buildings, dating back to end of the 13th century, are in the small, well-preserved medieval town of Montefollonico.

It is a family affair. The owner Vittorio Innocenti gave up teaching philosophy many years ago to dedicate all his time to the estate and the cellars and is helped by his wife Maria Rosa, theatre historian, his son Tommaso, who is currently finishing a course of study enabling him to take over the management of the estate, and his brother Mario, responsible for the care of the vineyards.

Chianti Colli Senesi is an area that overlaps some of Tuscany's most famous wine names – Montalcino, Montepulciano and San Gimignano – with the Chianti Colli Senesi title used to cover Sangiovese-based wines from the less prestigious vineyards of the area. (Ref: Wine-Searcher)

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Cheers. Latest Episode #2 . Keeping You Up To Date With Wine, Beers, and Spirits

Cheers. Latest Episode #2
Keeping You Up To Date With Wine, Beers, and Spirits

Teeling Whiskey Launch Two New Single Malt Whiskeys.

We are delighted to announce the release of two new Single Malt whiskeys to honour this year’s World Whiskey Day.
Building on the International success of the Teeling 24 Year Old Single Malt which won the World’s Best Single Malt in 2019 at the World Whiskies Awards, we are proud to present the Teeling 28 Year Old Single Malt.
We are also proud to release Series 3 of our Brabazon Bottling Series, a 14 Year Old Single Malt that has been matured in Pedro Ximénez casks from the Jerez area of Spain.

Join Jack & Stephen Teeling for a live tasting of these new releases on the Teeling Whiskey Facebook page tonight at 7:30pm (Dublin Time).Both bottlings will be available to purchase from our distillery gift shop from May 19th.
For more information on these new single malts please visit our blog:

SuperValu Italian Wine Sale Begins Thursday 21st May

MASI CAMPOFIORIN is Wine of the Month!
€15, Was €17.49
Rich, smooth, velvety, very approachable and versatile with food. This is MASI’s original Supervenetian recognised internationally and inspired by the technique of making Amarone. Combining simplicity and grace with strength and majesty.

Other to check out: 
€20 Was €25
Deep purple red, ripe fruits and luscious nose, full body, highly alcoholic yet so round to remind a certain natural sweetness.

€10 was €19.99
Ruby-red, tending toward garnet with age. Black cherry with some earth notes. Round and
well structured, with rich fruit and soft tannins.

€20 Was €24.99
The Barolo, Piedmont’s most famous wine, is produced with Nebbiolo grapes grown in the eleven
municipalities of the DOCG. A wine of robust, austere but velvety and harmonious body.

O'Briens Wine
Have your favourite Montepulciano back in stock!🍷🍷
and a whole lot more besides!

Pour Your Own Pint with 
9 White Deer Brewery 
Don't we just deserve this 🥰, 8 weeks is a long time without a proper stout.
See our website for details on how you can have this. It's soooo simple.  #stagstout #draftbeer #glutenfree Pour Your Own Pint! All revealed in their video here
Please drink responsibly

Austria Opening Up after Virus
After Austria’s economic activity came almost completely to a standstill because of the Corona restrictions implemented on 16 March, all of Austrian commerce was able to open its doors again on 2 May – of course, in compliance with strict safety and security regulations. The hospitality industry is scheduled to follow on 15 May, and the hotel industry at the end of May. After suffering weeks of interruption to their most important sales channels, relaxation of these restrictions also means a bit of easier breathing for Austria’s winegrowers.

But what is the situation like in Austrian wine’s most important export markets? Read more here.

Unpicking the closure dilemma of Isole e Olena’s Cepparello

Tuscany’s iconic producer Paolo De Marchi (right) has famously had to classify his top end Isole e Olena Chianti as an IGT wine because he uses 100% Sangiovese. But the other reason he has fallen foul of the Consorzio is that, since 2005, he has been putting an increasing amount of this super premium wine under screw cap. So why has he done this and what difference does it make to the finished wine? Justin Keay talks to De Marchi about his controversial decision and tastes both versions of the Cepparello 2016 to see if a professional palate can tell which is which? Read more on the subject here from The Buyer

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Three wines to enjoy from Tuscany

Three wines to enjoy from Tuscany
Terrabianca Chianti Classico Riserva Croce (DOCG) Riserva 2012, 13.5%, €25.75 Karwig Wines 

Colour is a beautiful ruby red. Aromas of ripe cherry. Superb fruit on the palate, sweet juicy cherry, touch of pepper, terrific structure, good acidity and satisfyingly long fruit-driven finish. Very Highly Recommended.

This is 97% Sangiovese with 3% Canaiolo. The grapes are selected at the winery before being approved for separate vinification in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. Ageing: Aged in Slavonian oak (50 hectolitre), then about 3 months in French oak barrique (2nd use) and in bottle for at least 12 months. 

Serving Suggestions: Best served at 16-18 °C (60.8-64.4 °F). Pairs well with pasta dishes.

Selvapiana Chianti Rufina (DOCG) 2015, 13.5%, €23.99 JJ O’Driscoll’s Cork, Wine OnLine, Liberty Wines 

Rufina is a highly regarded sub-zone in Chianti and its best wines are a match, some more than a match, for those from Chianti Classico. This producer is one of the best and produces the wine from the area’s famous Sangiovese grape (with a touch of Canaiolo). It is aged for 12 months, some in steel but most in oak casks and barriques.

It is a startlingly light red. Cherry and berry on the nose. Fresh and juicy on the palate, quite a backbone of flavour, smooth though and easy drinking but also generously blessed with finesse. Elegant and precise and with a long finish, this Chianti Rufina is Very Highly Recommended, especially if you like the lighter styles.

Camillo Ciliegiolo Maremma Toscana (DOC)  2015, 13.5%, €18.85 64 Wine Dublin, Bradley’s of Cork, Greenman Dublin, Le Caveau Kilkenny

This is made from organically grown, forty year old Ciliegiolo vines. Ciliegiolo? I hear you ask. I asked too and confirmed it is little known with an uncertain genealogy, being either the parent or offspring of Sangiovese. 

Antonio Camillo is noted as a top grower in Maremma (an area of southern Tuscany that has been producing wines since the Etruscans) by none other than Oz Clark in Grapes and Wines.

The book, co-written with Margaret Rand, says Ciliegiolo (little cherry) “is sometimes bottled as a varietal, and it can be found as far south as Sicily and as far north as Val d’Aosta.”

The Camillo version is a bright mid-ruby in colour, the aromas a mix of cherry and berry. Refreshing ripe cherry fruit, some spice also, good acidity and persistent fine-grain tannins all in the dry finish. Good structure, very drinkable and Highly Recommended. Try, they say, with hearty dishes (stews) and hard cheeses.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

In the heart of Chianti

In the heart of Chianti

If Tuscany is the centre of the Italian Wine Universe (as declared by Vino Italiano) then Chianti Classico is its heart. Chianti itself is a vast area in Tuscany with Pisa and Siena among its best known cities. Chianti Classico DOCG, situated on the hills between Florence and Siena, is tiny by comparison.

Hugh Johnson, writing in The Finest Wines of Tuscany (2009),  says the revolution of Tuscan wines began over 40 years ago and is still on-going. “It is the New World within the Old, questioning, experimenting all the time, with ever-rising standards.”  Looks like there is a lot more to this story.

Sangiovese is central Italy’s most important red grape and the main grape in Chianti where Grapes and Wines note Terrabianca as one of the top producers. It is also the base of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Brunello di Montalcino and Morellino di Scansano.

Terrabianca Scassino Chianti Classico (DOCG), 13.5%, €22.70 Karwig Wines

The estate is ancient (mentioned as far back as 1085) but Roberto and Maja Guldener started here only in 1988. Now, after much hard work, some of their wines, including this one, are well-known in “many countries all over the world”. Not bad going for a couple that left the city (Zurich) to live in the countryside.

The blend is 97% Sangiovese with 3% Canaiolo. It has spent 8 months in Slovenian oak and three months in bottle before release.

It is a vibrant cherry red, clear and bright. The inviting aromas are a mix of fruit (led by raspberry and cherry). It is fresh and supple, with moderate spice, fine tannins, a really pleasant experience on the palate, a well made Chianti, with typical fragrance and fruit, with a firm backbone and a long lasting finish. Very Highly Recommended.

Fattoria di Rodáno Chianti Classico (DOCG) 2011, 14.5%, €20.45 Le Caveau

This blend of 90% Sangiovese and five per cent each of Colorino (with its deep dark colouring) and Canaiolo (also used in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano) is produced by the Pozzesi family on an organically run hill-top vineyard in Tuscany. It is oak-aged in large Slovenian botti di rovere but this is really “little more than a seasoning”.

Colour is a bright cherry red and ripe red and darker fruits are prominent in the aromas. Flavours of plum and cherry are found on the palate of this medium bodied wine, spice too. Tannins though rounded are still a factor and even more so is the typical mouth-watering acidity. The elegant finish persists. This impeccably balanced wine is Highly Recommended.

See also (from my current Italian mini-series):

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Love Red? Three of the Best.

Sainte Croix Magneric, Corbieres (AC) 2012, 14.5%, Mary Pawle Wines

Fruit, spice, and power feature in this well-balanced blend of Carignan (42%), Grenache (29) and Syrah (29). The vineyard, run by an English couple, Jon and Elizabeth Bowen, has been organic since 2008 and they recommend pairing it with anything from Spiced lamb tagine to Roast venison.

This is a dark, medium to full bodied, wine with ripe dark fruit aromas to match. That fruit, spice too, on the palate, concentrated, with outstanding freshness, tannins soft and ripe and no slacking off in the long aromatic finalé. Power and elegance in the one package and Very Highly Recommended.

We had another beauty from the same vineyard a month or so back. Check out Le Fournas here

Il Grigio da San Felice Gran Selezione Chianti Classico (DOCG) 2013, 13.5%, €34.95 (27.95 in recent sale) O’Brien’s Wines.

Made from “our finest Sangiovese (80%), enriched with other ancient indigenous varieties”, the result is a superbly complex wine of great elegance and concentration. Just 40,000 bottles are produced of this particular wine which has an ageing potential of 15 years. It has been aged for 24 months in mixed oak plus 8 months in bottle. 

Sangiovese, also known as Brunello and Bonarda, is a top red grape in Italy. Tuscany is its home but it is grown all over Italy, also in the US, Australia and Argentina.

Colour is medium red and the aromas feature ripe red fruit (strawberries, cherries). There is terrific concentration in this medium-bodied gem, spice too and a superb acidity to balance and it boasts a long dry and spicy finish. Very Highly Recommended.

Matches suggested are red meat, pasta and pizza. You could also do as I did and try it with cheese. I had Carrigaline, both the original and the smoked, and all got on very well together!

Jerome Quiot Cairanne Côtes du Rhone Villages (AC) 2014, 13.5%, €18.30 Karwig Wines

The family Quiot began their wine story in the Vaucluse when they acquired a few hectares there in 1748, so the nod to tradition is to be expected. This wine is made from the traditional grapes of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and old vines of Carignan. Old style vinification too in tanks and oak barrels.

Colour is a lovely ruby and there are raspberry and cherry in the aromas. On the palate, it is fruity for sure, spice also, a very good depth of flavour, nicely balanced; the tannins are close to smooth in this medium bodied wine and there is an excellent finish as well. It packs quite a punch for such a smooth wine and is Very Highly Recommended.

That noticeable acidity helps make it a good food wine, lamb, roasted meat and cheeses are recommend by the producers. I found it a terrific match with Moussaka, especially the version made using this recent recipe from Dublin's Tang Restaurant in association with Glenisk - see the details here.  

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Superb French Chardonnay. And Meet Karwig’s Italians

A Superb French Chardonnay.
And Meet Karwig’s Italians

Château Martinolles Chardonnay Limoux (AOC) 2014, 13.5%, €19.65 Karwig Wines

A superb wine from an intriguing historical Languedoc area. The Saint-Hilaire monastery actually used to adjoin the property, and it was there in 1531, that the method for making sparkling wines was discovered.

The fruit, one hundred per cent Chardonnay, is hand-harvested from old vines and is aged for 9 months in oak barrels (one-third new and two-thirds aged), a mixture of French and American oak. It is light gold in colour and you should find white fruits (quince and particularly lime) in the aromas. It is very impressive on the palate, intense in flavour and with a balancing acidity, elegant with a long finalé. A very pleasant surprise indeed and Very Highly Recommended.

Selvapiana Chianti Rufina (DOCG) 2013, 13%, €23.50 Karwig Wines
This a bright ruby from the organic vineyards of Selvapiana. Ripe red fruits in the aromas. On the palate, it is vibrant, ripe and juicy, some spice too, tannins just about in play, a refreshing acidity. It is medium to full bodied, rather elegant, lively and long, rather moreish and Highly Recommended. Try it with pasta, steak and pork chops.

Rufina is one of the sub zones of Chianti. The usual advice is to buy your Chianti from Chianti Classico, the name given to wines from the original historic boundaries. But Wine Folly writes: Both Chianti Classico and Chianti Rufina are likely to be of higher quality, since they are made in smaller quantities from distinct historical areas. This Rufina certainly underlines that point.

Caldora Colle dei Venti Pecorino, Terre di Chieti (IGT) 2015, 13%, €16.70 Karwig Wines

Okay. I haven't lost my marbles! I am talking about a wine, not the famous sheep's cheese of Italy. The Pecorino grape is so called because a bunch resembles a sheep’s head. That’s the winery's story. Another is that the bunches are a favourite treat for the sheep. says: Pecorino cheese is, coincidentally, a surprisingly good food match for Pecorino wine.

Making wine from native vines is a “point of pride” for Caldora. This hilltop vineyard overlooks a beach (Lido Riccio); on the summer nights, the fresh sea breeze allows a thermal range “fundamental for the complex aromatic structure of the wine”.

Color is quite a light straw yellow. White fruit aromas, herbal hints too, even a slight whiff of liquorice; fresh and crisp, dry and minerally, with excellent acidity and a  persistent finish. Recommended.

Conte Loredan Gasparini Cabernet Sauvignon, Montello E Colli Asolani (DOC) 2014, 13%, €17.25, Karwig Wines.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted vine in the area of Montello, a small hill 30 miles north of Venice. Half of this is aged in big oak barrels, half in stainless steel.

The colour is purple, deep and dark and there are blackcurrant aromas with hints of herb. Straight away on the palate you'll notice its freshness, its fruit flavours and then that lovely acidity (food is a welcome accompaniment here!). Tannins are fine and the finish is lengthy. This warm and soft wine is Highly Recommended.