RÙFINA: THE HIGHEST CHIANTI
Chianti Rufina is a historic wine producing area, one of the most important in Tuscany, located to the north-east of the city of Florence, on the slopes of the Tuscan-Romagnolo Apennines.
The first historical evidence of wine production in the Rufina area dates back to the early fifteenth century. Official recognition was granted in the eighteenth century by an Edict of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Cosimo III, in the announcement of 24 September 1716, classified the wine produced in this area as being among the four best in Tuscany.
The Italian Ministerial Decree of 1932 established the territorial limits of the Chianti wine-producing area for the first time, and defined the various geographical sub-divisions, including Rufina.
The Controlled Designation of Origin (DOC) dates back to 1967 while the Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin (DOCG) was assigned in 1984.
Rufina is the smallest of the seven Chianti sub-regions: it occupies a surface area of 12,483 hectares, 750 of which are registered as being under cultivation; this figure is destined to rise to approximately 1000 hectares, corresponding to a production of 2,700,000 litres, or 3,500,000 bottles per year.
The production area is located about 20 km from Florence and occupies territory in the districts of Pontassieve, Rufina, Londa, Pelago and Dicomano.
AN ELEGANT, DECISIVE WINE
Out of a total of 22 growers currently producing Chianti Rufina, 20 are members of the Chianti Rufina Consortium presided over by Federico Giuntini; the Consortium, which was founded in 1980, merged with the Viti Rufina Consortium in 1991, under the then President and founder Alberto Longhi.
These relatively small numbers demonstrate how Rufina’s reputation does not depend on large production volumes, but on the uniqueness of the Sangiovese grape variety, the Chianti Rufina territory and on the high quality levels of the wines produced by the individual growers, many of whom have revolutionised their vineyards and cellars over the last fifteen years.
The elements contributing to the character of Rufina include: the geological conformation of the land, consisting of limestone, marl and alberese; sun exposure on south by southwest facing slopes up to 400 metres above sea level, which permits grapes to reach optimal ripeness; the microclimate with high daytime temperatures and cool nights in the summer months, which contributes to the maintenance of aromatic notes and the development of strong acidity.
The result is an elegant wine, with a strong personality, well-balanced tannin and vivid acidity, the fragrance evokes a complex bouquet of berries and spices. The wine also ages particularly well, (longevity in excess of forty years is attested in the case of in the case of certain reserves from particular vineyards).
PROTECTION AND SAFEGUARDING A UNIQUE TERRITORY
Among the objectives of the Consortium is that of promoting the wines produced by the Rufina Chianti growers and protecting the entire production area in general, by developing and consolidating the collaboration between its individual producers and safeguarding the product itself through continuous search for the perfect balance between modernity and respect for tradition and territory.
While this was not an easy task, it has been accomplished admirably, thanks in no small part to the valuable contribution of the Technical Committee, consisting of experts from the various vineyards, which has seen the variety of Chianti grown at the highest altitude receive prestigious international awards over recent years, establishing itself as one of the most widely appreciated Tuscan red wines on the international market.