Wine | Chianti Rufina’s Story Continues: Nipozzano Riserva
Nipozzano recently released their 2013 vintage Chianti Rufina Riserva and it once again has all the hallmarks of consistency and subtle changes from year to year. And according to their owners at Frescobaldi, 2013 was a challenging year with crazy weather in the Tuscany region.
It was an especially cool winter, dropping below freezing for several days and there was even a little snow from time to time. Then, the cool weather continued into summer, with a just enough of a “heat kicker” in July and August to get the ripening process completed during September’s better behaved weather.
These uncontrollable challenges in local growing conditions represent one isolated example of how creating good wine is not an easy process. It causes many sleepless nights and requires constant attention to adjust the plantings, blending, and fermentation process to correctly compensate for random events.
Because we in the U.S. get a steady supply of Nipozzano Riserva every year, this represents one more interesting opportunity to experience a vertical comparison using a well-crafted wine. In the past, we have contrasted the 2010-2012 vintages, and now 2013 is added to the list.
In short, the 2013’s bouquet has moved more to dark ripe cherry, spice, wet stone, and toast. It has moved away from the floral and red fruit of previous vintages. Although these variations are subtle, they are still noticeable. Not bad for a tricky weather year!
On the palate, the variations are much less apparent. The change to dark cherries and a little more spice are there; but the soft tannins and nice food-pairing acidity are still the same. This favorite restaurant wine continues to be perfect with pasta featuring red sauces, plenty of garlic, and cheese toppings.
You can find it at Phoenix area Total Wine outlets and the pricing has dropped a little to $19, continuing in their tradition of excellent values. While many domestic wines keep going up in price, old world wines like this are good values to seek out.
Serve slightly chilled at about 55-60 degrees. It works well with a nice cheese appetizer plate, right on through to any Southern Italian inspired main course. Note: You must have food along with this wine; it’s not a solo act.