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The Society’s Chianti Rùfina 2018

Red Wine from Italy - Central Italy -Tuscany, Umbria
A great-value Chianti. Perfumed and pure with strawberry, cherry and red-apple notes, a medium-bodied, fresh palate and gentle red-fruited and vanilla finish. This is made especially for us by the Grati family from the Zona Sotto Vetrice vineyard in the cooler sub region of Rúfina and is perfect with food.
Price: £9.25 Bottle
Original price: £111.00 Sale price: £95.00 Case of 12
In Stock
Code: IT30851

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Light to medium-bodied
  • Sangiovese
  • 12.5% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2023
  • 75cl
  • Twin top

Central Italy

The large Central Italy region embraces Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, Abruzzo and Molise and Lazio. Geographically Central Italy is split by the imposing Apennine mountain range that runs the length of the centre of Italy like a slightly curved spine dividing, for example, Tuscany and Umbria from Emilia-Romagna and Le Marche. While there is the usual diversity of grape varieties when you drill down in to the vineyards of these regions, one grape variety dominates – sangiovese, whether it stands alone or is blended.

At the heart of Tuscany is Chianti, spreading from north of Florence to south of Siena. Rolling green forested hills of captivating beauty characterise much of the Chianti area with vineyards sometimes planted at over 500 metres. The wines are dominated by the sangiovese grape supported by canaiolo, colorino, mammolo and ciliegiolo of the traditional varieties of the region but with the additional weight and structure of cabernet sauvignon, syrah and merlot...
The large Central Italy region embraces Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, Abruzzo and Molise and Lazio. Geographically Central Italy is split by the imposing Apennine mountain range that runs the length of the centre of Italy like a slightly curved spine dividing, for example, Tuscany and Umbria from Emilia-Romagna and Le Marche. While there is the usual diversity of grape varieties when you drill down in to the vineyards of these regions, one grape variety dominates – sangiovese, whether it stands alone or is blended.

At the heart of Tuscany is Chianti, spreading from north of Florence to south of Siena. Rolling green forested hills of captivating beauty characterise much of the Chianti area with vineyards sometimes planted at over 500 metres. The wines are dominated by the sangiovese grape supported by canaiolo, colorino, mammolo and ciliegiolo of the traditional varieties of the region but with the additional weight and structure of cabernet sauvignon, syrah and merlot which are now permitted.

Other great wines from Tuscany are Brunello di Montalcino (‘brunello’ being a very localised clone of sangiovese, and the only permitted grape), Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (from the town of Montepulciano and nothing to do with the montepulciano grape; Vino Nobile is again made from sangiovese) and the so-called Supertuscan blends of several grape varieties, some of which are not permitted under DOC rules in areas such as Brunello. The most famous of these Supertuscans are Sassicaia and Ornellaia, both of which are essentially Bordeaux -style blends from Bolgheri close to the Tuscan coast in the west. The region, partly with the impetus of these regulation bucking blends, has been a driving force in improving quality in the region and consequently across Italy.

Umbria to the south of Tuscany has developed an impressive reputation for its wines, such as the aromatic, tannic but delicious sagrantino from vineyards around Montefalco. Here too sangiovese is widely grown, making impressive Torgiano and blends together with varieties like merlot and cabernet. Higher ground in the north is cooler than the southern zone. Orvieto lies almost between the two in the west of Umbria. The wines of Orvieto are beginning to find their feet once more after decades of underperformance now that many growers are focussing on the grechetto grape that had once been ubiquitous but which had been pushed aside by the higher cropping but far less interesting procanico (aka trebbiano Toscano).

Lazio is the region around Rome which is struggling to creep out from the shadow of the dull wines that historically fed the thirst of a ready market in the Eternal City. Basically, there was too little incentive to change. Now there are a number of producers working hard to make Frascati of real character by improving their clones and their methods and by lowering yields.

Across the Apennines from Umbria is Le Marche with its mountainous national parks and sunny Adriatic coast. The best white wines are the two verdicchios, dei Castelli di Jesi and di Matelica, with the latter making the more characterful examples from its higher altitudes. Pecorino grapes from zones to the south produce fruity, interesting white wines with real potential to rival the best verdicchio. Reds are improving all the time, including Rosso Piceno (sangiovese with montepulciano) and Rosso Conero (montepulciano).

North of Le Marche is the region around foodie Bologna, Emilia-Romagna. Home to Parmesan cheese, Parma ham and balsamic vinegar, the region has not developed a similarly impressive canon of wines to rival its reputation for fine foods. Much is unimpressive but the best sangiovese di Romagna from south-east of Bologna can be excellent, and as with elsewhere in Italy there are a growing number of growers and winemakers intent on improvement. The wine best known to British consumers is Lambrusco. Sadly the association many will have is with sweetened characterless froth from the 1970s and 1980s but the Lambrusco drunk by the Bolognese is very different and we are starting to see its appetising acidity and bracing bite, designed to accompany the salty hams, tangy cheeses and rich meat sauces of its home region, reach the UK.

As with Le Marche the vineyards of Abruzzo are squeezed between the great mass of the Apennines and the Adriatic, and the mountains have influenced the character of the Abruzzese and their food. To match their hearty dishes they drink montepulciano d’Abruzzo, invariably gutsy and full of lively red fruits and a Society wine of many years standing. Rosés such as Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo are also becoming increasingly well known for their value and constantly improving quality when growers lower yields and winemakers take them seriously. Further south is the little known Molise region where montepulciano, aglianico and trebbiano grapes make characterful, rustic reds and whites. The Biferno DOC was created in the 1980s and there are producers here who are making some very promising examples.
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Grati

The Grati family owns a magnificent hill of vines on the western side of the Rufina valley, just outside the town of Rufina, where part of the Grati cellars are located. The family has been producing wines here for five generations, but it is Gianfranco, along with his daughter, Cristiana, and his son, Gualberto, who are the current generations running the business.

The 560-hectare Grati estate is interspersed with cypress and olive trees in a fashion typical of the Chianti region – the family is also famous for the quality of its olive oil – but the vineyard plantings total 100 hectares in size. The majority of the vines are sangiovese, but the family also grows other traditional varieties like canaiolo, colorino and malvasia, as well as some merlot and cabernet sauvignon.

The Rufina valley, just north of Florence, makes sangiovese wines of real distinction, close in quality to those from the Classico district south of the city, but the style is slightly different as the vines are cooled by the breezes which come down the Sieve valley.

As well as Chianti, Grati also makes vin santo, a traditional Italian dessert wine. Grati wines represent great value which is why we chose this producer for The Society's Chianti Rufina.
2018 vintage reviews
2016 vintage reviews
2015 vintage reviews

JancisRobinson.com

Transparent ruby colour. A bit sweeter than I would expect with the tanginess of Sangiovese almost overwhelmed by sweet fruit. Its a good price but doesn't quite express the glory of Chianti to...
Transparent ruby colour. A bit sweeter than I would expect with the tanginess of Sangiovese almost overwhelmed by sweet fruit. Its a good price but doesn't quite express the glory of Chianti to me. But it may well be more appealing to newcomers. Nothing whatsoever wrong with it though.
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16/20

joannasimon.com

The Rufina sub-region produces particularly elegant Chianti. This one, made by Grati, has wonderful cherry and cherry kernel fruit, delicate spiciness and silky texture. It was spot on with goat...
The Rufina sub-region produces particularly elegant Chianti. This one, made by Grati, has wonderful cherry and cherry kernel fruit, delicate spiciness and silky texture. It was spot on with goat braised in red wine and finished with pomegranate molasses, but it’s a very food-friendly wine.
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- Joanna Simon

decanter.com

The Society has gone to the cooler sub-region of Rufina for its own-label Chianti. At under a tenner, this is a great price for a light to medium-bodied Chianti that offers the trademark cherry...
The Society has gone to the cooler sub-region of Rufina for its own-label Chianti. At under a tenner, this is a great price for a light to medium-bodied Chianti that offers the trademark cherry fruit, with a slight hint of tomato too. Fragrant and food-friendly, with lovely typicity and a fresh finish.
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91/100 Amy Wislocki

The Guardian

Chianti is the traditional partner for a ragù and meat-based pasta sauce, but you rarely find it at this price. Light, juicy and easy-drinking. -

Fiona Beckett

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