Owner Renzo Masi turns out solid, well-made and relatively inexpensive Chiantis that age well at this little-known Chianti Rufina estate. His wines all show the tell-tale refinement, high acidity, relatively low alcohol, sour cherry fruit and slight underbrush-mushroom notes that define great Rufina wines, and they couldn't be any farther removed from alcoholic fruit bombs.
Also recommended: 2005 I Pini Rosso dei Colli della Toscana Centrale (86).
Other wines tasted: 2004 Chianti Rufina Riserva. (HB Wine Merchant, New York, NY)
($12) Deep, saturated ruby. Spicy aromas of sweet red berries and exotic spices, along with a touch of sexy oak. Sweet and slightly high-toned in the mouth, with a creamy texture but also lovely sangiovese sappiness to the intense strawberry and delicate ink and black pepper flavors. The wine's modest length does not undermine its charm. Lovely wine.
(($25; 90% sangiovese with 10% cabernet sauvignon) Very dark ruby. Pungent dried red berries complicated by rose and an intense cream soda quality on the nose. The cream soda element follows through on the palate, joined by ripe red cherry and redcurrant. Finishes persistent and ripely tannic, picking up considerable weight with aeration.
($16; a 50/50 blend of cabernet sauvignon and sangiovese) Curiously less dark in color than the previous wine, which contains less cabernet. Floral aromas of red berries and cinnamon are complicated by lavender and cherry cola. Pretty pomegranate and redcurrant flavors are nicely framed by ripe acids, with the sangiovese element more apparent today than the cabernet. An easygoing, softly tannic and approachable wine that's ideal for restaurants and dinner tables everywhere.