Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Step Back: Selvapiana Chianti Rufina 1979

Chianti Rufina is known for producing wines that can be quite long-lived -- the mountains above the vineyards bring cool evening and night-time temperatures that help preserve acidity, and this in turn gives longevity backed up by the aromas that also develop thanks to the day-night temperature excursions.

Selvapiana is one of Chianti Rufina's oldest estates, and they have a fantastic wine cellar with a great many old bottles, so I was pleased but not too surprised to see Federico Giuntini had brought a bottle of the 1979 vintage. It's brick almandine ruby of a sort that benefits an older wine, and has an elegant bouquet with sour cherry fruit laced with balsamic notes and Moroccan leather, with underlying greenish leaf tobacco and leather, mingled with sea salt and spice. Quite a bit to say. On the palate it's rich and graceful, with elegant sour cherry fruit supported by tannins that are smooth, with a slight burr, and flow into a clean warm finish. Quite graceful,. And though it isn't a wine for a neophyte, it is a wine that a wine lover will end up having a long heart-to-heart conversation with. Scores are pointless when discussing wines of this sort, but it is a wonderful treat.

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