BB Review: Selvapiana Chianti Rufina 2015
SAME GRAPE, DIFFERENT WINE
Remember, earlier this year, when we recorded a podcast all about how Shiraz and Syrah are the same freaking wine but go by different names because... well, because of Australia, basically? Well! For this round, we're exploring three different wines called three different things, even though they're all from the same country (Italy) and made from the same grape (Sangiovese). Are they all delicious? Let's find out!
BOTTLE: Selvapiana Chianti Rufina 2015 – Tuscany, Italy
WHERE WE BOUGHT IT & PRICE: £15.50 from Secret Cellar
ABV & TECH SPECS: 100% Sangiovese and 13.5% ABV
THE GRAPE: As we will find throughout this round of wines, the grape most famously known as Sangiovese goes by other names throughout Italy, depending on where it's grown. But why does this happen? More globally, like in the case of Syrah and Shiraz, it’s a case of vines travelling the world with missionaries and wine-loving immigrants, and finding a new name in far-flung countries. But in Italy, the grapes can often be named after something they represent, as in Sangiovese (the blood of Jupiter) for its blood red colour.
THE WINE: You’ve probably heard of Chianti, maybe even seen wines labelled ‘Chianti Classico’, but did you know there are a select few areas prized for their premium offerings of the Sangiovese grape? The Rufina zone in Chianti is the smallest but one of the most special, and Selvapiana are undoubtedly the top producers in this zone.
THE VINEYARD: In Medieval times, Selvapiana was one of the watch towers along the river Sieve that protected the city of Florence along the North-East border. In 1827, it was acquired by Michele Giuntini, a successful banker and ancestor of Francesco Giuntini, the present owner.
Francesco Giuntini has always believed in the value of the Rufina appellation, and has worked to increase the prestige of the area. He has been among the first Tuscan producer to make wines of the region only from Sangiovese grapes, and also to produce his flagship wine of Selvapiana from a single vineyard Bucerchiale.
CARO: Right, let’s start by setting the tone here - I’m hanging. Yes, AGAIN! But in a very unexpected way this time - I’m on a diet, and fuck me, turns out wine does not get absorbed as efficiently when there’s not much food in your stomach. Just sayin’. So me and my wine-saturated organism are having a tough time finding nuances in this… Still, let’s do this: it smells elegant (whatever that means... look, I’m hanging, okay?) almost green, peachy, plummy, it feels smooth and slaps you with a peppery kick. Okay, take a deep breath, you can do this. I think it needs some food to unleash all its potential - I’m dreaming of a fennel seeds tuscan sausage pasta right now. Where’s the food?
Disclaimer: I poured some more two days later, after both the bottle and I benefited from some rest and fresh air, and it had a loooot more to offer. So go decant that shiz, guys!
ANGELA: I love the light rustic ruby hue of this Chianti, which trails off into burnt amber at the rim. Its rustic edge follows through onto the aromas, red berry fruit, plum and a slight salami note. It’s no lie I love Italy, and this aroma transports me back there anytime. This is a beautiful wine, and I’m just going to reminisce here.
KATE: Oh baby, oh baby. This romantic rusty red wine smells like a deliciously fizzy Shirley Temple. Not the child actress with the dimples, but the child-friendly cocktail. I like it immediately. At first sip, it's bright and acidic with a helluva juicy berry note that makes it wonderfully gulp-able. But don't drink this too quickly! Savour every sip. This wine is complex and more mysterious than that guy I dated in my early twenties who refused to tell me his last name, and wound up breaking up with me in a jazz club (rude to me and to jazz!). But, unlike that loser, this wine deserves attention, care, and adoration. Pair with a delicious ragu or maybe a fresh tomato salad. (I mean, just l👀k at these tomatoes! Aren't they lovely?) Do not pair with men who are not deserving of you, good jazz, or good wine.