Winefriend by David Way

Writing about the wines of Piemonte, Italy and France

I Veroni

I Veroni – attractive Rufina

I Veroni is a medium-sized, high quality estate on the very edge of the town of Pontassieve.  The contrasts are marked: the outskirts of the town are modern and pedestrian, while the estate has a fine old farm house with a grand courtyard and looks out over a scene of rural prosperity.  Although the property has a long history going back to the Middle Ages, the recent rise in the standard of wine produced was signalled by the replanting of the vineyards for quality production in 1998.  Or, to start at the top of the hill and work down: the church of San Martino a Quona stands high above the cantina, near the summit of the wonderful south facing slopes on which the vineyards run down to the town below. There is an agriturismo in newly converted farm buildings with spectacular views and a pool. The brochure sums it all up appropriately as ‘Wine and Hospitality’.

While the company is now set up in a very contemporary way, the wines are pleasingly traditional, at least in their grape composition.  The only white is made from a Malvasia blend but they prefer to showcase their rosé as an aperitif wine.

IMG_9858Veronirosé 2010, Colli della Toscana Centrale IGT – we had a discussion about whether this denomination is worth it and decide it really wasn’t!  The wine, 100% Sangiovese, is perfumed (red berries and some leafiness), fresh and pleasant, good persistence and with the characteristic sapiditá, the savoury notes you get with Sangiovese.  It deservedly got a ‘one glass award’ from the Gambero Rosso.

The real business is of course red Chianti Rufina:

Chianti Rufina DOCG 2009 – the grape varieties are Sangiovese (90%) and Canaiolo nero (10%).  Pale ruby colour, lovely fruit and cherry perfume followed by an attractive palate.  Approachable and soft by Rufina standards, which the estate puts down to using large traditional barrels (botti) to age the wine for a year or so but there is also lots of lovely fruit in there.

Chianti Rufina riserva 2008 – The top wine is 100% Sangiovese planted on a 1 in 5 slope. It is the product of longer maceration (25 days) and then 18 months in 500 litre tonneaux, 50% new.  This is an interesting compromise between, on the one hand, the larger barrel than the standard barrique (and so less contact between the wine and the wood) and, on the other hand, quite a high proportion of new wood.   Denser in colour than the preceding wine, ripe dark plum and black cherry on the nose, same softness in the fruit, the good structure is well hidden by the fruit.  Interestingly the oak ageing is not really showing though it will probably re-emerge in time.  For a riserva this is remarkably ready to drink after just three years.

Vin Santo del Chianti Rufina 2003 – the Tuscan dessert wine made from semi-dried grapes, Malvasia Bianca, Trebbiano and Sangiovese. Dense and in the ambrato style. Honeyed, floral, nut aromas; complex on the nose and dense and sweet on the palate.  Very good.

All in all these are very good wines, made in a contemporary manner from traditional blends – and very good value.  They strike a good balance as a modern take on Rufina without trying to be obvious and international in style.  This was our last visit in Chianti Rufina before going down to the Classico area and left us with good memories.

Many thanks to Paola de Blasi and the team at I Veroni. The wines are as attractive as the vineyard and the traditional farmstead!

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