Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva 2005

First off all, let me say thank you to my in-laws for this bottle; my family has always had an informal gift-giving rule that goes something like this: “if you can’t eat or drink it, don’t give it.” I’ve probably bought no more than a case of Italian wine in my entire life, so this represents a lovely departure from the norm for me.Being totally unfamiliar with Italian wines, I had to cheat and look this up: this is sangiovese (OK, I knew that much), but with a fruit salad of other stuff thrown in and making up 10% of the blend (malvasia nera, colorino, and a couple of others).Being only marginally familiar with sangiovese in general – notably through encounters with Penfolds and Bonny Doon wines labeled as such – I wasn’t really expected this wine to smell like it does. It doesn’t smell like the odd, anchovy-esque fruit bomb I usually associate with this grape; instead, it smells deathly serious, like some movie prop “Italian wine” served by an extra from Goodfellas. It smells like smoked meats drying in a strawberry jam factory, warm wooden floors and sawdust below, hazy springtime air blowing in through a window. Frankly, it smells like it’s spent a fair amount of time in barrel; what fruit there is seems well hidden behind casky support.It’s surprising to taste the wine; yes, it’s every bit as tannic as I (stereotypically) expect from an Italian red – although it’s not rustically so, it is a bit off-putting – but there’s pretty much a totally out of control fruit orgy going on here as well. Oh my. This stuff is far from demure; although there is just a bit of the smoked fish note I usually expect from sangiovese, it’s decidedly overridden by suggestions of plum tartlets and floral honey. The finish last for quite some time; it reminds me of the smell you get when you find a pawn shop humidor that hasn’t been used in a decade: dusty, faintly tobacco, and softly wooden.On the whole, I suppose what you have here is an Old World wine that’s been made New World enough to be acceptable to a non-Italian audience; yes, there are still tannins and wonderful woody notes from barrel age and quality cooperage, but there’s also a heart of very ripe, sunny Tuscan fruit that should win over anyone who’s initially a bit put off by the somewhat severe nose. All in all, this is a delicious drink and a not very subtle remind that I am course missing out on a lot of quality drinking by never, ever remembering to buy Italian wines. Mea maxima culpa, indeed.Marchesi di Frescobaldi
Price: $20
Closure: Cork

One thought on “Frescobaldi Nipozzano Chianti Rufina Riserva 2005

  1. “…it smells deathly serious, like some movie prop “Italian wine” served by an extra from Goodfellas”- way with words, props where they are due 🙂

    I’ve often watched The Sopranos and noticed wine movie props and references. The series seems to begin with Chianti and Barolo then head towards Sangiovese and Pinto Grigio in its climax (sign o’the times? marketing?).

    A bit of French wine thrown in the episode “The Ride”, one of my favourites! Can’t remember the wine’s name but I do remember the audio commentary (film/TV geek alert)- along the lines of the writer saying that he felt obliged to buy a bottle of the one used in the episode and whilst it was really, really good he could never imagine paying the price he did again 🙂

    ps- Actor who plays Dr Melfi is a well respected Wine Merchant FWIW.

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