The production of Chianti wine has a rich history going back many centuries. The earliest documentation of a Chianti wine dates back to the thirteenth century when viticulture was known to flourish in the “Chianti Mountains” around Florence. The merchants in the nearby towns of Castellina, Gaiole and Radda formed the Lega del Chianti (League of Chianti) to produce and promote the local wine. In 1398, records note that the earliest production of Chianti was as a white wine. In 1716 Cosimo III de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany issued an edict legislating that the three villages of the League of Chianti as well as the village of Greve and a 2 mile hillside north of Greve near Spedaluzza as the only officially recognized producers of Chianti. This delineation existed until the 1930′s when the Italian government expanded the zone. Subsequent expansions throughout the twentieth century would eventually bring the Chianti zone to cover almost all of Tuscany. The original zone dictated by the edict of Cosimo III de’ Medici would eventually be considered the heart of the Chianti Classico region.
The wines of the Chianti sub-region of Rufina are among the most widely recognized and exported from the Chianti region. The Florentine merchant families of the Antinori and Frescobaldi own the majority of the vineyards in Rufina. Chianti from the Rufina area is characterized by its multi-layered complexity and elegance.
The 2008 Chianti Rufina Nipozzano Riserva is produced by using 90% Sangiovese, and a 10% blend using Malvasia nera, Colorino, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon grape varieties. The color of this wine in the glass is a wonderful deep ruby red, with a rim variation of brick red. The aromas are of cherries, red berries, earthiness, and spice. The flavors of this wine follow that of the nose, with flavors of tart cherries, red raspberries, plums, dirt, and pepper. As with most Chianti’s this is a medium-bodied wine, smooth, well balanced, with soft tannins, and a medium finish. I paired this Chianti with a hand made traditional Italian pizza with basil pesto, fresh mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, and fresh herbs. The wine and pizza complimented one another very well.