Wine of the Week: Ruffino Fonte al Sole Toscana

Wine: Ruffino Fonte al Sole Toscana IGT

Grapes: Cabernet sauvignon (60 percent), sangiovese (40 percent)

Region: Tuscany, northern Italy

Vintage: 2008

Price: $7.99

Availability: Lee’s Discount Liquor

In the glass: Ruffino Fonte al Sole wine is a deep garnet-red color with a fairly dense core going out into a lightly garnet-tinged rim definition with medium-high viscosity.

On the nose: There are indicators that the famous Tuscan terroir from which this wine’s fruit is sourced shines through with powerful forward stewed red fruit dominated by ripe Morello cherries and cooked sloe fruit with underlying notes of leather, plums, earthy minerals, herbs and dried red flowers. The wine is mature and ready to drink now; some of the secondary so-called garrigue characters come through to prove that point.

On the palate: It is a nicely ripe and mature mouthful of wine right off the bat with red cherries, rhubarb compote, pomegranate juice, slightly rustic undertones, but all nicely balanced. The midpalate and the supple cherry juice components confirm this with soft tannins and a nice lingering finish. It is medium-bodied in style and comes across as a highly drinkable wine.

Odds and ends: I have been to Tuscany dozens of times and have always marveled at the hilltop towns and gorgeous rolling landscape with the classic junipers and olive trees scattered throughout this charming part of Europe. Winemaking going back to Etruscan times has guaranteed a pedigree in the great wines of Tuscany. And Ruffino upholds the traditional methods of winemaking, while innovating and putting out excellent wine. I met with the Ruffino team here in Las Vegas as it passed through recently. We talked about how the team produces 18 million bottles of wine, yet maintains a “boutique” feel about many of its brands. This is the last of the Fonte al Swole, but the 2008 vintage was excellent for this wine made from a “nouveau” style of blend for Tuscany with a majority of the French grape variety cabernet sauvignon and then the rest the traditional key component of Tuscan wines: sangiovese. It is easy drinking and superbly priced. Try it with a simple spaghetti Bolognese as I did, or pizza. Drink it now through 2015.

Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at gil@winevegas.com.

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