reviews, recommendations, recipes, and The Bar Project

Ruffino Aziano Chianti Classico

Posted by dave

Herein also known as “The Wine My Fiancé Picked Out”, Ruffino’s Aziano Chianti Classico is a wonderful addition to our small but growing catalog of drinks that if you haven’t yet enjoyed, you darned well should. At $11 a bottle, you really don’t have any excuse for not trying it.

I’m going to try to keep this short and sweet – there isn’t a thing to not like about this wine. Well, maybe one thing. If you, my friend, are the kind of person that enjoys a wine that kicks like a pissed off Clydesdale, this isn’t for you. But if you are like me – a person that appreciates both a hearty wine as well as one that goes down easy, then this is one for the books.

Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time cheating – cheating on Italian wines that first realized my appreciation for the fermented grape. I’ve actually been spending most of my time in Australia’s section of the Pennsylvania state run liquor store, because darned if their offerings aren’t really becoming something to love. But back in the day, it was Italy that first saw my love of wine blossom, and I’ve been feeling rather dirty about my affair with Australia. (And boy, if Italy and Australia knew about this thing I have going on with South Africa… boy howdy…)

When I was a young whipper snapper, just hitting the double digits, my grandfather was making a foray into wine making. A true do-it-yourself-er, this man up and got him some barrels, got him some grapes, and with the knowledge that came to him from generations past, did make a wine quite bold and beautiful. I remember even now helping him drip wax over the cork to make sure a good seal was made. I remember him explaining why it was that we couldn’t immediately have wine – why the barrels had to hold the drink for a while… what fermentation was.

Well, now I’m 28, and after having just looked up fermentation in the dictionary, let me tell you, it’s an important part of the process (and the one that I’m apparently most fond of). But it was in my grandfather’s basement and at his dinner table that I first enjoyed red wine, and since then, my love for wine has blossomed. (Just ignore those four years at university, please.)

So it was with great surprise with which I did first sip the Ruffino Chianti. My fiancé, a coinsure of wines that she’s heard of before, remembered once having the Ruffino Chianti at a friend’s house and being impressed enough to remember the name. That was good enough for me, and we shortly thereafter headed off to dinner, a bottle in tow.

As luck would have it, we were headed out to dinner at a quaint little Italian restaurant in Philadelphia, so the food matched the wine – in origin at least. The waiter popped the cork – REAL cork, not seen so much anymore – poured a couple of glasses, and left. A toast was proposed (I believe it was to the fact we were about to get our drink on) and I sipped.

Ok, well, actually, first I sniffed. If TV and movies have taught me nothing, it’s that wine must first enter your nose. So I sniffed. Mmm… I thought. A little hint of bark – a woody smell, if I may – yet sweet.

Well, enough of this sniffing crap, down to the downing! I took my first sip, and interestingly enough, the wine almost immediately assaulted my throat. Almost like a sharp cheddar – really good, but gripping. But it was over as soon as it began, and I was quickly surprised by the richness of the flavor. Sweet, with a tiny little hint of dry… and boy howdy did it go down easy.

This, my fiance informed me, was a light wine. Why not, I figured. Sounded right to me. And it is – light on the palette, with just enough spice to remind you that it’s there, and then a wonderful, smooth, clean, easy finish. Afterwards, there are dark, shadowed fruit flavors. The bottle describes the flavor as chocolate, but I taste none of that. Instead, I feel warmed, as if I just tasted a much bolder, more menacing wine.

And that’s the beauty of the Ruffino Chianti. It’s bold and strong on the introduction and in the finish, but going down, it’s as smooth as silk. This is a drinking wine, friends – I could finish a bottle myself and feel no worse for the indulgence.

This wine is good with anything. The bruschetta we were eating was an amazing compliment – this wine goes well with Italian food. It’s not refreshing by any stretch of the imagination – rather it’s gripping and enjoyable for all palettes. The fiancé likes it because it is light in the middle and goes down easy. I like the easy part, but am enamored with the introduction and the finish.

I highly recommend the Ruffino. It came to us by way of an introduction years ago, and I hereby introduce and recommend it to you. Red wine drinkers of any casual nature will enjoy this wine. It’s not the heartiest of wines, but it will satisfy those looking for a drink that is easy going without sacrificing any muscle for the honor.

So with that, I take my glass and head away from the computer. The bottle of Ruffino Aziano Chianti Classico is way over on the counter, and I want another glass.


Posted in Italian, Red Wine


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  1. Da Vinci 2005 Chianti » The Bar Project Project

    […] Here’s what it is I do like – it’s smooth and cool and bites back just a tiny bit.  It’s not afraid of itself, and I’m not afraid of it.  At $11, this is a table wine that now frequents our little condo.  It’s not as full-bodied as the previously reviewed Rufino Aziano, nor as sweet as the also previously reviewed Little Penguin Shiraz.  But then again, it’s not a Shiraz, so the comparison may not be fair. […]

  2. Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (2002 Riserva) » The Bar Project Project

    […] So we’ve been on a bit of an Italian wine binge recently. The Davinci Chianti, and the Ruffino Aziano Chianti Classico are two we’ve reviewed and really enjoyed. On a whim, we picked up a really neat looking 2002 Cantina Zaccagnini il vino “dal tralcetto” montepulciano d’Abruzzo Riserva. (Gotta love all those Italian words. Cantina means “Wine Cellar”. Our Italian is staggeringly mediocre, and we’re happy to help with the translation.) It’s called a “Red Dry Wine”, and it’s really good. […]

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