This week at the Italian Culinary Center in New York City I had the pleasure of meeting Adolfo Folonari, co-CEO of Ruffino, who put together a tasting of his wines, and Cesare Casella, currently of Salumeria Rosi, who created the pairing menu.
The Folonari family has been in the wine business since the late 1700's, and bought the Ruffino Vineyards almost 100 years ago, so you can say Adolfo has wine running through his veins. Over the past 50 years they acquired seven small estates, Gretole, Santedame, Montemasso (all 3 in Chianti Classico), Lodola Nuova Estates (in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano), Greppone Mazzi Estate (Brunello di Montalcino), Poggio Casciano Estate (Chianti Colli Fiorentini), and La Solatia Estate (Chianti Colli Senesi).
The first 4 pairings with various Salumi:
Ruffino Chianti Superiore DOCG 2008
From the Poggio Casciano Estate vineyards in Chianti, using choice grapes during the harvest, as per the Superiore and Chianti Classico production standards, and aged for seven months in stainless steel tanks and two additional months in bottle. 75% Sangiovese (Minimum required by DOCG), plus 25% other varieties like Canaiolo Nero, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Superiore rules require yields 10% lower than Chianti Classico. $12.99
Deep ruby colors, aromas of cherries, blue fruits, hints of tree bark and chalk, flavors of red fruits and especially spice on the back end.
Paired nicely with Prosciutto Toscana Grigliato from San Gimignano, a Tuscan ham rubbed with rosemary, black pepper and garlic, then grilled.
Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2006
With grapes coming from the Santedame, Montemasso and Gretole Estates in the Chianti Classico area, and a blend of 80% Sangiovese with a 20% combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. After fermentation in stainless steel tanks, it is then aged in a combination of oak casks, stainless steel tanks, and concrete vats for two years, with a minimum of three months in bottle. $24.99
Ruby colors with aromas of blue fruits and bacon, ripe cherries on the palate followed by white pepper, spice and tobacco.
Coupled with Prosciutto di Parma, the hind thigh of a hog, rimmed with pure white fat.
Ruffino Santedame Riserva Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2006
From the Santedame Estate Vineyards near Castellina in the heart of Chianti Classico, this is a beautiful blend of 80% Sangiovese, 10% Merlot, 5% Colorino and a 5% combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and Canaiolo. Only the best hand selected grapes are used for this single vineyard riserva, fermented in stainless steel, aged in French oak for twelve months with another six months in bottle. $33
Sexy bouquet of violets with intense floral aromas, complex flavors of blackberries, cherry candy, red licorice, smooth tannins with black cherries and cocoa powder on the finish.
Paired with Parmacotta, the floral aromas present in the Riserva make a fine balance to the sweet, cooked ham's brininess.
Ruffino Greppone Mazzi Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2004
Only the best hand picked grapes are selected during several passes to pick bunches at the perfect state of maturation. Fermented in stainless steel tanks for two weeks, further macerated on the skins for 15 days, then aged in oak casks for 24 months. After resting in stainless steel tanks for another six months, the wine was bottled and aged for eight months before release. $79
100% Sangiovese Grosso with flowing aromas of plums, cherries, and barnyard, weaving into animal flavors, expressed by a full body and rich texture, with spice notes, fine tannins, and long chocolate finish.
Paired with Cacciatorino, the snack originally used by Piemontese hunters, but now popular throughout Italy. It's dense texture marbled with pockets of fat nicely work with the bold Brunello's husky demeanor.
After the initial tasting, we moved on to the luncheon where there were four more wines to sample.
Ruffino Lumina Pinot Grigio Venezia Giulia IGT 2009
Straw yellow colors, floral notes, kiwi, pear, hints of pineapple
Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2005
80% Sangiovese, with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot combination, aged for 36 months, 3 months stainless steel, 24 months in oak casks, 3 months in vats, and at least 6 months in bottle. Violets, plums, spices with herbal notes.
Ruffino Romitorio di Santedame Toscana IGT 2004
60% Colorino, 40% Merlot, this one being my favorite of the day. Aged at least 18 months in oak casks, floral notes, black currants, dried cherry, dates, very complex with sultry earthtones and spices. Finishes beautifully with strawberries and chocolate.
Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2001
A fine vintage for this with 85% Sangiovese, 10% Colorino, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot, aged for 37 months is a well balanced, nicely structured classic Sangiovese Tuscan with ripe tannins and long finish.
Beans and Tuna
Short Ribs with Mushroom Risotto
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Chocolate Hazelnut Tuile