A household name not only in Italy but also abroad, the estate is considered an integral part of Italy’s enological heritage and has accrued numerous accolades over the past century. Not only was it the first Chianti wine to be exported to North America, it was even selected as the wine of the Italian Court in the early 1900s when the Duke d’Aosta fell in love with Ruffino’s “stravecchio” aged wines. From Giuseppe Verdi and Sophia Loren to Rocky Balboa and Queen Elizabeth II, Ruffino has been enjoyed at tables around the world and continues to produce some of Italy’s most beloved wines.
The History of Ruffino
Ruffino was founded in 1877 by Ilario and Leopoldo Ruffino, two entrepreneurial cousins who set out to make quality wine that was accessible for everyone. Unlike many wineries which belonged to Italy’s noble families and produced wine for personal or local use, Ilario and Leopoldo had a grander vision to export their wines and give Italians living abroad a taste of home. Ruffino’s iconic Chianti “fiasco”, with its interwoven straw base, became an emblem of Italian wine, conviviality and good taste.
Originally depicted in paintings by Botticelli and Ghirlandaio, and even mentioned by Boccaccio in the Decameron, the straw base helped protect wine during transportation but became truly iconic when it reached American shores. The fiasco can still be found in typical restaurants throughout Italy and Ruffino continues to produce a contemporary version of its Fiasco Chianti Superiore featuring a recycled paper base.
Tenute Ruffino: The Agriresort
Surrounded by vineyards in the Chianti Colli Fiorentini, Poggio Casciano is one of six “tenute” Ruffino owns in Tuscany and it’s the focal point for the brand’s hospitality ventures. The property was originally owned by the Soderini family, wealthy bankers who were close friends with the Medici, and it still retains its historical charm – with a frescoed villa, historic furnishings and gorgeous views of the Florentine countryside.
The Soderini’s 14th century family home has been converted into an Agriresort with seven cozy bedrooms, sitting rooms and a billiard room for guests – while the outside features a panoramic swimming pool that looks out on Ruffino’s vineyards. You can also wander through splendid hedges and boxwoods in the Italian gardens, designed by famed landscape architect Pietro Porcinai, or play bocce ball in a dedicate court.
Poggio Casciano is also home to Le Tre Rane, a contemporary trattoria set above the historic cantina. Here, Chianti-born chef Stefano Frassineti creates seasonal dishes and tasting menus that exalt Ruffino’s extensive range of wines. During the harvest period, you can expect to find dishes like risotto with yellow pumpkin, walnuts and Tuscan pesto paired with the crisp La Solatìa Pinot Grigio, or roasted piglet with grape must served alongside the Riserva Ducale Oro, a hearty Chianti Classico with an elegant finish.
There are numerous activities guests can enjoy during their stay in Poggio Casciano. Ruffino offers numerous wine tasting tours & tastings, including an exclusive tasting straight from the barrel and an artisanal chocolate experience paired with Ruffino’s decadent Amaro and Vermouth. You can also enjoy a walk in the woods with a professional truffle hunter to discover the secrets of truffle hunting – before digging into a truffle-themed lunch paired with Ruffino wine at the Le Tre Rane restaurant. Or learn how to make your favorite Tuscan recipes, like fresh pappardelle pasta, panzanella salad or traditional bread during a hands-on cooking class.
In the summer, Poggio Casciano also hosts outdoor cinema screenings in its gardens of Italian and international films, accompanied by a picnic basket with wine and treats.
Ruffino produces 33 million bottles annually and exports its wines to over 80 countries, making it a true ambassador of Tuscany and Italian wine culture. Its primary markets are the United States and Canada, followed by Italy, and its recent acquisition by Constellation Wines has helped cement its North American appeal. Ruffino’s Riserva Ducale Oro Chianti has won many accolades, including the Tre Bicchieri by Gambero Rosso and a score of 90+ by James Suckling.
But the winery’s most exclusive wine is certainly the Anno Domini wine produced at Poggio Casciano from 100% Colorino grapes, a native varietal in Tuscany which is usually used as a color enhancer in blends, rather than on its own. The wine is aged in two terracotta amphorae and produces a limited quantity, so only 1,000 bottles are available each year. You can taste and purchase them at the Ruffino estate and receive a numbered certificate, a perfect gift for anyone who loves Tuscan wine.