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What is Chianti Rufina? Ask Decanter

A brief introduction to this high altitude, Chianti DOCG sub-zone.

What is Chianti Rùfina? Ask Decanter

Chianti Rùfina is one of the smallest DOCG sub-zones in Chianti, Tuscany.

There are seven Chianti sub-zones, including Rùfina – but not including Chainti Classico DOCG.

Chianti Classico is it’s own DOCG, generally with vineyards planted at higher altitudes than Chianti, and the wines must be aged for at least 12 months before being released on to the market.

‘Chianti Rùfina is arguably the most famous of the Chianti sub zones,’ said Peter McCombie MW in his masterclass at the Italy Fine Wine Encounter, held at the Landmark hotel in London on 2 June 2018.

‘People think only Classico is where the really good wine is made, but I want to show that other areas can [do this as well].’

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Full report and tasting notes on Chianti Classico new releases 

Published April 2018

Rùfina’s high altitude

Chianti Rùfina is known for its high altitude sites, and it is a very small sub zone.

‘It’s a continental climate almost, it’s much higher and it’s the smallest zone in Chianti around the town of Rùfina. It’s in the foothills of the Apennine mountains,’ said McCombie.

‘The high elevation means the Sangiovese can ripen slower, this makes more enjoyable tannins, and allows the wine to age more slowly,’ said Cesare Code Nunziante from Colognole.

‘Also, Rùfina is a small area. It feels exclusive – there are only three million bottles [produced each year]. ’

Rùfina is also the furthest from the coast, and the highest, of the Chianti appellations, said McCombie.

The high altitude is significant because it means a big diurnal temperature difference, he said.

‘It helps to retain acidity, freshness and give more intense fruit aromas and perfumes.’

What to eat with a typical Chianti Rùfina wines

‘In Italy people don’t drink wine without eating food. Remember, when acidity can seem a bit much, think about having it with food,’ said McCombie.

‘Because it’s Tuscany, I’m thinking a slow cooked wild boar ragu. And really good quality beef.’

‘I’d argue beef is more delicate than we give it credit for – and then throw something big at it. I think something more delicate works well, like this Sangiovese.

‘Wild game bird would work well too.’

From the Decanter archive

Stephen Brook wrote of Rùfina wines in 2010:

‘The wines, overwhelmingly Sangiovese, tend to be quite austere in their youth and well structured. As a group, they probably age better than many other Chiantis, and bottles from the 1960s are, apparently, still enjoyable.’

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