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Ruffino Is A Lesson In Tuscan Terroir And Mamma

11/10/2015 06:00 EST | Updated 11/10/2016 05:12 EST

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"Storytellers connect people, reflect culture and inspire discovery through the art of storytelling," according the Storytellers of Canada: The Art of Storytelling. On Oct. 18, 2015 I had the pleasure of attending a structured tasting dinner at SOCIAL Restaurant in Ottawa featuring RUFFINO wines. The tasting was brought to us by Constellation Brands and hosted by Ruffino Global Brand Ambassador Beppe d'Andrea. It was a beautiful evening with local Ottawa sommeliers and wine bloggers connected and inspired by not only the portfolio of Ruffino wines but also Italian food and culture. You see, Beppe is a master storyteller.

Beppe paints pictures with his words. He describes the dish he would prepare with Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti 2011, for example, and one can taste and smell the black truffle oil drizzled over the pan-seared spinach filled ravioli topped with crushed tomatoes -- a simple dish that has been handed down for generations in Tuscany. No heavy meatballs or meat sauces that we lace our pasta with here in North America. No sir! That's not the way Mamma prepares food. It's suggested that "Mamma" is a literal translation for "Tuscany" or "Tuscan terroir."

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There are 600+ varietals in Italy and some 300,000 wineries. In Tuscany, Sangiovese flourishes in the mineral-laden soils with hot the dry summers on sun-drenched aspects and cooled by Mediterranean Sea breezes at night . These are the Hills of Gold -- Colline d'Oro. Ruffino exports to roughly 84 countries around the globe and Canada is number two on that list. Wine regions such as California are trying their hand at planting Sangiovese "but," says Beppe, "Sangiovese just wants Mamma." Sangiovese is at it's best when it's grown in Tuscany.

As well as the Ducale we tasted our way through the Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, Chianti, Chianti Classico, Brunello and the iconic Modus. Modus 2012 is a handsome, inky Super Tuscan containing 50 per cent of Mamma's love (Sangiovese). Intense black fruit with tobacco, sweet spices and lift of mint. Our parting gift was a bottle for the cellar. Beppe suggested this wine will continue to reward over the next 10 years. I suggest meeting up with him in 2025 over a fantastic meal listening to his tales but... I really hope we meet again much sooner. The following are some notes and the wines are available through Vintages and LCBO General list.

Ruffino Prosecco NV

Great aperitif. Beautiful straw yellow with some larger bubbles. Clean and crisp. Ripe tree fruit, citrus, a hint of biscuit. Delicate and elegant. Very nice floral finish. Consignment only.

Ruffino LUMINA Pinot Grigio 2014

A fresh and light bodied white Italian wine that's made for simple everyday drinking. Pale lemon-green colour with aromas and flavours citrus, tree fruit, zest, saline and white blossoms. The acidity is racy and refreshing.

Ruffino Riserva Ducale Chianti Classico 2012

Opulent cherry, floral(violets), pepper, and some dried fruit and tobacco. A lovely velvet texture with good balanced acidity.

Ruffino Roserva Ducale Oro Gran Selezione 2010

Just in time for the Christmas season this beauty will hit the Vintages shelves Dec. 12, 2015. Aromas and flavours of dried fruit, cassis, violets, dried herbs, leather, earthiness, touches of chocolate and espresso. Great gift wine.

Ruffino Greppone Mazi Brunello 2008

Vintages Release date Nov. 14, 2015. Full-bodied with red and black fruit and hints of raisin, fig and black pepper. This medium ruby-coloured Brunello is full-bodied and crafted using 100 per cent Sangiovese.

Ruffino MODUS 2012

Released in Vintages Oct. 31, 2015. Modus is a much sought after wine at the LCBO selling out as soon as it hits the shelves. This full-bodied red wine blend is an inky deep ruby colour in the glass. The youthful tannins smooth as the wine opens up in the glass. Suggest decanting. Aromas and flavours include black cherry, plum, mocha, leather, cigar box, oak, pencil shavings. The acidity is medium-plus and balanced. Drinking nicely now, but has potential to age.

Ruffino MODUS 2011

Coming to Vintages April 2, 2016. Luscious dark fruit (plum,black cherry, black raspberry, cassis), raisin, toast, cedar, clove, black earth, cellar floor. Robust and not for the faint of heart.

Until next time... wine * food * run

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