Rùfina, Toscana A fine old family estate that is skilfully directed by Gabriella Spalletti along with her sons Cesare and Mari. They have hardly put a foot wrong since re-creating the farm as ‘Colognole’ in 1990. In the 50’s and 60’s the wines were sold under the family name ‘Spalletti’, it was a hugely successful enterprise which came to an end when one of the clan sold their shares to Cinzano. Today that brand still exists, but no longer has anything to do with the family whose name it bears.
The success of Colognole is built on a quiet obsession to overcome, even to relish, the challenges presented by agriculture in Rùfina. Cesare jokes that with a little more global warming his life will be easier, however, it is a sparse land at high altitudes with washed out top soils that only just cover the limestone slopes of Mount Giovi that makes this terroir so unique. Extremes from day to night temperatures provide relief for the vines and an ideal climate for an extended growing season. This development of the grapes is perfect for preserving the subtleties of flavour, and Rùfina wines are amongst the most long lived in all of Italy.
Vintage reports from Chianti Classico rarely apply to Rùfina, a region more accustomed to cool vintages although in hot years the wines do have more in common. Considerable work has gone into selecting the correct clones of Sangiovese for Colognole. There are also complimentary plantings of Canaiolo, their variety is a legacy of their land that has been protected and nurtured throughout the years. There are plantings of Chardonnay, and some Syrah and Merlot on a tiny site at the highest point of the vineyard.
The style of their wines is uncompromising, the Chianti is pure and expressive Sangiovese - no Merlot or Cabernet is used to moderate and colour the wine. Should there be a question mark over the quality of a vintage then no wine is made - in 2010 the vineyards were hit by hail three times and the grapes of this ‘unfortunate vintage’ were sold to fortunate local cooperatives