A Tale of Two Ruffino Wine Tasting Dinners with Authentic Italian Food Pairings

Bunch of People at Table RuffinoOur second Ruffino wine tasting took place October 19 at La Cucina Ristorante with another team of our top-notch wine reviewers who share their observations of the wines, pairings and experience below. You’ll find the pictures, videos and notes from the Ocober 18 Ruffino wine tasting here, and reviews of all Ruffino wines here.

Valerie Dufour Ruffino Event“The more I drink Italian wines, the more convinced I am that they are made for the purpose of enjoying good food. And when you have the perfect pairing, it gives you the kind of evening we had at the great Italian restaurant La Cucina in Kanata on Saturday Night hosted by Constellations Brands, the owner of the renowned Tuscan producer Ruffino.

According to the Ruffino Brand Ambassador in Canada, Robert Ghezzo, “It is an Italian tradition that wine has to be enjoyed with food, family and friends, even for the new generation of Italians. They might order a glass of wine when they have drinks with their friends, but it doesn’t take long to see a bowl of pasta on their table.”

This winemaker dinner was a great experience for the palate. The restaurant was almost full, the ambiance was festive, the service friendly and the food was spectacular. The best combination were without a doubt the homemade meatballs in tomato sauce with the Ruffino Chianti and the gnocchi in rose sauce with Ruffino Reserve Ducale Chianti Classico. The food pairing was to-die-for.

I have to admit that the Ducale is often my go-to wine when I hit a wine store at the last minute. It has the advantages of being consistent vintage after vintage and to be broadly available in Québec and Ontario. I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t enjoy it.

We were all waiting to have a taste of Ruffino Super Tuscan and were not disappointed. The Ruffino Modus has a really powerful and pleasant nose of plums in eau-de-vie, tobacco and dark chocolate. It is a robust and complex wine that will please most wine lovers.

The wine also has enough depth to last 5-10 years in the cellar, but very palatable right now with present but refined tannins, although you can really taste the toast of the barrique in a very New World kind of way. At about $30, this wine is a steal.

For the dessert, served their Ruffino Vin Santo Del Chianti. With dessert wine, I have a tendency to turn to France (Loire and Bordeaux) most of the time, but it is a mistake to forget Italy. This Vin Santo comes from Malvasia and Trebianno grapes that were picked in late October, left to dry in a cold place for 3 months then pressed and put in barrique for 3 years.

This leaves you with a beautiful bronze liquid that is full of almond aromas and pineapple but not overly sweet. It was excellent with the tiramisu shot, white profiterole and chocolate tartufo. – Valérie Dufour

 In the video above, Robert Ghezzo talks about the new Chianti classification that’s been discussed in Tuscany currently.

glass white wine Ruffino No 2“If you are looking to taste and experience Italy without ever leaving Ottawa, then Ruffino wines and La Cucina is your ticket. On October 19, we were given the opportunity to attend a wine and food pairing dinner at La Cucina Ristorante in Kanata. A total of 6 wines from Ruffino were accompanied by some traditional Italian cuisine in a modern and cozy atmosphere.Nick at Ruffino Event

We started things off with the Ruffino Prosecco, which is not yet available here in Ontario, but is in Alberta. Beautiful and bright in colour, this bubbly wine was elegant on the nose. Aromas of citrus, apples and pears also came through on the palate, with a crisp and clean finish. (90/100)

Ruffino Post 2 Photo 1Our first course was the Caprese Salad: roma tomato, fior di latte, basil, and olive oil and was paired well with the Ruffino Lumina Pinot Grigio. The aromas of pear, minerality and floral notes were quite pleasing. On the palate, this wine was simply delicious, with pear, apple and citrus. (89/100)

Next we enjoyed homemade meatballs in a beautiful tomato sauce, which paired excellently with the Ruffino Chianti DOCG. This is a classic Chianti featuring aromas of red cherry, plum, spice and with good fruit and tannins on the palate. The combination of the tomato sauce and meatballs made this pairing a real winner. (89/100)

The Ruffino Ducale Chianti Classico and the homemade gnocchi was a real treat. This Chianti never disappoints – beautiful on the nose with aromas of cherry, plums, floral, spice and tobacco. This wine is very intense on the palate with fruit and spicy notes with a soft and smooth finish. (92/100)

The wine that had everyone talking was the Ruffino Modus. This blend of sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and merlot had the senses buzzing. This full-bodied wine had beautiful aromas that seemed to keep developing in the glass as time went on. Aromas of cherry, spice, strawberries, tobacco and plums were present. On the palate, the smooth tannins and long finish of fruit and vanilla were amazing. This wine paired very well with the Veal Portofino, scallopini, grilled shrimp, grilled peppers, saffron risotto and port reduction sauce. (93/100)

Lastly, we tried the Ruffino Vin Santo Del Chianti paired with the Tiramisu shot, white profiterole and chocolate tartufo. The wines featured a beautiful amber colour with elegant and inviting aromas of citrus, candied fruit and honey sweetness. Flavours of apricots, figs and nuts make this wine very enjoyable. (90/100)

This Italian wine pairing event was a success and I thank Robert Ghezzo, the Canadian Brand Ambassador for Ruffino wines, said it best, “Wine goes with food and friends”. – Nick Onischuk

 A quick pan of the restaurant shows the cozy atmosphere, and congenial host.

 “Last night I had the distinct privilege of attending the Ruffino dinner in an intimate setting at La Cucina Restaurant on behalf of NatalieMacLean.com.

The eveMalcolm Lamont Ruffino Eventning was facilitated by Ruffino Brand Ambassador Robert Ghezzo who explained how Ruffino has 6 estates in the Chianti and ChiRuffino Post 2 Photo 3anti Classico region as well as others in the Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, and Umbria regions.  The Tuscany Estates total 2800 acres, 1400 of which are for grape vines and the other 1400 for olive trees.

Perhaps the most interesting fact of the evening was about the Chianti DOC, which dates back to 1877, showing the longevity of this style.  It has seen the straw bottle (fiasco) come and go, and now is in the Florentine bottle.  It has also seen Prohibition come and go, and at that time, as a way of keeping the wine available it was sold in drug stores as an anti-stress agent.

To compliment the excellent wines, the food and service were excellent in the full 50-person capacity restaurant.  The food and wine pairings certainly showed that ever-desirable synergy where the whole was greater than the sum of the parts. In particular, the meatballs paired with Chianti DOC, and the veal Portofino with grilled shrimp paired with Ruffino’s Modus IGT lasted long on the palate, and will last even longer in my memory!” – Malcolm Lamont


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Ruffino in Ice Bucket

Blue Bottles of Ruffino on Bar

Pouring Wine into Glass

Photo and video credits: Valerie Dufour, Malcolm Lamont and Nick Onischuk.

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la cucina Ruffino Event

La Cucina Ristorante

474 Hazeldean Road

Kanata, Ontario K2L 4E5




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