My first and only trip to Chianti was a disaster. Mechanical issues, delayed flights, and endless rebooking lines delayed the arrival of an already short trip by almost a full day, landing me in a gray, rainy Florence shortly before sunset. I lamented the sights (and glasses of wine) that I was missing through the foggy, winding car trip into the heart of Chianti, which culminated in a stomach-upending climb into a hilltop village.
Of course, the streets were too narrow to fit my taxi, leaving me to roll my mercifully small suitcase on uneven cobblestones solo. Clad in a day-old airplane outfit, I was exasperated and ready to turn around and head back to my cramped New York apartment. But as I reached the crest of the hill, the clouds parted to reveal a postcard-perfect sunset over the lush landscape, rainfall still clinging to the sprawling cypress trees. I took a deep breath of cool, damp evening air, and all my frustrations faded. That quiet, peaceful moment is exactly what the Selvapiana Chianti Rùfina 2015 evokes.
With the exception of the traditional Chianti Classico zone, Chianti Rùfina is considered the most consistent and quality-driven subregion of Chianti. Cool breezes tend to create a style of wine with elegance and freshness, which the Selvapiana Chianti Rùfina certainly showcases.
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The aromas of this Sangiovese-based wine are fresh and cool, with notes of cranberries, cherry blossoms, basil, and turned earth, like a spring garden accented by morning dew. The palate leans toward the prettier side of Chianti, but it isn’t overly floral in any way. It’s clean and medium-bodied, just the kind of easy-drinking red that could easily find its way onto the Tuesday dinner table. But while it isn’t fussy, it isn’t a simple, throwaway wine either. And next to making the long and possibly exhausting trip to Tuscany, it’s the next best thing to being there.