£13.50–£17.49, The Wine Society, The Wine Reserve, Old Bridge Wine Shop, The Fine Wine Company, Valvona & Crolla, Theatre of Wine, Cambridge Wine, Noble Green Wines
Sometimes. Often. Chianti just hits the spot. I drank this Chianti Rufina, courtesy of the importer Liberty Wines, while attending, virtually, the André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards 2020 (no, no relation). Maybe it was the wine, but it seemed to me that the quality of the shortlisted books this year was on another level. They were so engagingly original – original in both subject matter and approach.
This isn't the place to talk about them (I'll do that another time), but I must just mention two of the drink books that completely captivated me: Wine From Another Planet: Noble Rot by Dan Keeling & Mark Andrew (Quadrille); and Intoxicating: Ten Drinks that Shaped Australia by Max Allen (Thames & Hudson Australia), which went on to win the Drink Award. If you haven't already, read them as soon as you can, preferably with a glass of Selvapiana Chianti Rufina 2018 in hand.
This is a pure Sangiovese Chianti, estate grown and bottled in Rufina, the smallest and northernmost zone. Rufina has a reputation for producing elegant, ethereal Chianti and none evokes it more than Selvapiana. The 2018 is suffused with freshness and energy, silken texture and flavours of sweet red cherries, brushwood, herbs and tobacco leaf. It's ready now, but Selvapiana's wines age well.
It's a terrific food wine – with vegetables, herb-strewn meat, pulses, aged hard cheeses. Apart from the obvious Italian dishes of antipasti, pizzas, meaty and tomatoey ragùs and Italian sausages, try it with tagliata, mushroom dishes, grilled Mediterranean vegetables and ratatouille-type stews, grilled radicchio with blue cheese and balsamic vinegar, chickpea and lentil stews, rabbit, lambs' kidneys or simply with a chunk of aged Parmesan. 13.5%
Note that some stockists have the wine under cork, not Stelvin screwcap as pictured, so if that's important to you check with individual retailers.
Selvapiana Chianti Rufina 2018, Tuscany, Italy