Chianti Rufina’s consistency: Nipozzano Riserva
Comparative wine tasting nearly always lives up to its reputation, subjective. That’s it, truly subjective. Our complex array of human senses certainly can’t compete with a well-calibrated machine, but that’s really what makes wine tasting so much fun, right?
One of the more challenging wine tasting experiences is doing year-to-year comparisons (verticals) with Italian wines. This is mainly because of their long-term consistency over decades, especially when it comes to Chianti.
One of the Chianti regions that is quite popular with restaurants, because of its consistency, is the small sub-zone of Rufina. Many wines from this area can be counted on as good buys, especially when stocking a large cellar.
To prove this out, try a vertical with a few vintages of Frescobaldi Nipozzano “Riserva” and compare them carefully. It’s not easy to zero in on many major points of differences, let alone form an opinion on which one is the best.
Take the 2010 and 2011 Riservas. On the bouquet, the 2010 is more sweetly floral, but the 2011 tends to boast more red fruit (like raspberry) and is a little spicier. However, they both have a little smoke and tobacco with a few earthy “wet stone” characteristics that makes both years so interesting.
On the palate, they are even closer with dark cherries, soft tannins and nice food-pairing acidity finishing with an elegant spiciness. And once the food is served, they become even more difficult to tell apart. Both years are champs with mild red sauce pasta and veal parmesan.
You can find it at Phoenix area Total Wine outlets reasonably priced at $23 (actually a better price than previous years). That brings up another point, many wines experience price variances every year. That’s also consistent!
So, if you decide to “lock in the price” and do a little racking for a favorite vintage, Italian wines like this will not let you down. They are very age worthy and will be just a good (or even nicer) 5-10 years from now.
Feel free to serve the “Zano” over the course of evening. It will change for the better as it opens up, especially with the younger vintages.
© Tom Peiffer 2016