Anything Similar to Chianti Ruffino Gold Label? - Printable Version

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- Cbodna - 02-09-2000 04:57 PM

I am looking for something that would be less expensive and just as good as Chianti Ruffino Gold Label. This wine goes for about $35-40/bottle. Anyone know of something just as wonderful for less?

- Thomas - 02-10-2000 08:08 AM

There are so many good ones out there. Look for Michele Chiaro Barbera, or any other Chiaro wines (I might be off on the surname, but close).

They aren't Chianti but they are northern Italian and they are solid wines.

You might want to look into Friuli wines: Refosco, Schioppetino, Cabernet Franc et al.

- Zinner - 02-13-2000 04:29 PM

Yes, Foodie is very close. It's Michele Chiarlo and the Barbera d'Asti is always a very nice value, selling for under $10 around here. Not Chianti, mind you, but certainly worth trying.

Chiarlo also makes a very pretty value-priced sweet (aperitif or dessert) wine--Moscato d'Asti Nivole. It's light and spritzy and comes in a lovely bottle, so it makes a nice gift wine.

[This message has been edited by Zinner (edited 02-13-2000).]

- mrdutton - 02-13-2000 07:54 PM

A little more chianti-like, I like Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. There is plenty available in the $10.00 to $20.00 range that is quite drinkable. I liked the Villagiachi at about $19.00. Or you can try Montepulciano D'Abruzzo, also very good. The 1994 Montepulciano D'Abruzzo by Zonin was good.

Or you might try 1994 Limole Vigneto di Campolungo, Chianti Classico Riserva.

- misterjive - 02-28-2000 06:55 AM

Try Super-Tuscans! In a comment I made in the Italian wines forum, I opined that Ruffino Gold is, to my way of thinking, more like a Super-Tuscan than a Chianti (a Super-Tuscan is a wine that does not fit into DOC/Italian wine law specifications, usually because it has too much Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend). Many Americans are unaware that by Italian law, Chianti producers can include up to 10% Cabernet. I once had an argument with some wine reps from a Florida distributor that shall go unnamed that this was not the case--they maintained that Chianti NEVER has Cab in it...well, ask Mr. Antinori, who says that his great-grandfather was putting Cab in his Chianti a century ago--current Italian law allows 10% but no more. If there is more (or if there is Syrah in the blend, or Merlot, or other "French" varieties), the wine must be called a simple Vino di Tavola (table wine). As a result, many of the best wines coming out of Italy are vini di tavola, and are known as "Super-Tuscans" because of their innovative composition and character (aged in small oak barriques, a method of maturation more common to Bordeaux than Tuscany). Now, I know that this little lesson is old news to many out there, BUT, it shines a great deal of light on the character of Ruffino Gold. Ruffino Gold is made in the style of the Super-Tuscans; it is more Cab-influenced, and much more oaky than your typical Chianti. Largely because of these reasons, it enjoys a great deal of success in the American market. I think it's good stuff, but I am not about to pay $50 or $60 a bottle for it (restaurant prices, and believe me, I have seen them this high). When I want chianti, I drink Chianti, and when I want a Super-Tuscan, I drink a Super-Tuscan. Fontalloro is dynamite. Sassolloro is, too. Ornellaia is great, but expensive, and so it goes. Many Super-Tuscans are just as expensive as Ruffino Gold. Campaccio is dynamite stuff, and I believe you might be able to find the '95 for $30-40 at a good wine store. If you want to try a great Chianti, but one that is markedly different in style from Ruffino Gold, try Monsanto Il Poggio, and try to get the '97. 1997 is a fantastic vintage for Tuscany, as noted by others in the Italian wines folder.

Now, back to your original question: You want the style and panache of Ruffino Gold, but at a less aristocratic price. The answer is quite simple: buy California Sangiovese. You will find all of the oak and boldness of Ruffino Gold, at a fraction of the price. Same grape, different continent. Pedroncelli, Chance Creek, Bonny Doon; all of these producers make reasonably-priced Sangios. If you want to splurge, pick up a bottle of Staglin Family "Stagliano" Sangiovese. You might even like it better than Ruffino Gold!