The SOMM Journal

May 2014

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Page 40 of 107

FOR A COMPANY THAT'S BEEN IN BUSINESS 137 YEARS, Ruffino still finds ways to keep things modern. Ruffino was founded in 1877 by a pair of cousins, Ilario and Leopoldo Ruffino, who started together simply as wine merchants before getting involved with the best growers in Tuscany and making the wine themselves. Within a few years, Ruffino became internationally known as a quality producer of wine—they impressed the Duke of Aosta to such a degree that he made Ruffino the official wine provider for the King of Savoy. The Duke's supply of wine was called "Riserva Ducale," meaning literally, "the reserve for the Duke." But it wasn't until the fateful year of 1927, exactly 50 years after the company's founding, that Riserva Ducale had an outstanding vintage year, and the Ruffino vineyards made more wine than the Duke needed for the king. No longer exclu- sive for royalty, the remaining Riserva Ducale was sold to the public for the first time and has become one of the most famous Tuscan wines. It continues to be produced and sold to this day. Now that might be an impressive backstory, but what has Ruffino done for us lately? In brief, the main answer is Modus, which made its debut vintage in 1997. "Our company motto is: We make ideal wine," says Scott Ehrlich, Marketing Director of Imports at Ruffino. "Modus is a modern wine with a Tuscan soul." With fruit hand- harvested from top vineyards across Tuscany including Ruffino's Poggio Casciano estate in the Chianti region of Tuscany, Modus Toscana IGT is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot. Modus retains its Tuscan qualities while also employing less traditional methods of wine production—aging 12 months in French and American oak casks, old and new, which lend subtle flavors to the wine, like hints of vanilla. While Modus is ready to drink the day you take it home, it will age gracefully in the bottle for five to ten years. "Modus holds up to bold flavors without overcoming them," notes Ehrlich. Prime pairings include duck and olives, beef manicotti with Bolognese sauce, steak, venison and bistecca fiorentina. But as Ehrlich is quick to point out: "Modus can be enjoyed all on its own." With a limited production and a balance of different Tuscan flavors, twelve vintages earning 90+ scores from various esteemed wine publications make Modus a highly anticipated wine for lovers of the modern and the traditional. Modus by Ruffino by Zachary Bernstein { }  41 Somm Journal June/July.indd 41 5/9/14 12:08 PM

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