I Veroni is an historic winery located about ten kilometers due east of Florence, in the Chianti Rùfina region. The estate consists of seventy hectares, twenty-two in vine and the rest harboring olive groves and mixed woodlands. The vineyards are planted at the higher elevations of the property, from 100 to 350 meters above sea level, and farming is organic.
I Veroni welcomes visitors to book a day trip for wine and olive oil tastings, or a longer agroturismo holiday in one of the estate’s nine charming farmhouse apartments. Which, as I write this during winter in New England, sounds like a terrific idea.
The cantina, or cellar, is in the historic property that dates to the 16th century, but like most old edifices, it has been endlessly renovated in the tradition of: “This was my grandfather’s knife. My father replaced the handle, and I replaced the blade.” A recent update mercifully restored the cellar’s concrete fermentation tanks and large wooden aging casks, treasures of past centuries that contemporary winemakers now covet.
The Mariani family has owned the property since 1897, and in 1996, current owner Lorenzo Mariani undertook a reboot of the company and started producing these two Chianti Rúfina bottlings. On a recent zoom tasting, I asked Lorenzo why he chose to commit to organics. He almost shrugged.
“Why not? For the whole company, it was very normal to go to organic agriculture,” he said, adding, “It’s not more difficult now to make organic wine. To become organic is normal.”
His marketing director, Luca Innocenti, was also on the call and chimed in with his perspective. “We don’t believe that to be organic is our brand. We are making cru and grand cru with our Sangiovese — and they are also organic,” he said. “There are many companies that offer organic wine: ‘I’m a producer of organic wines.’ No, you are a producer of good wines. The wine has to be always good.”
They are good. Both of these Chianti Rúfina deliver solid bang for the buck for those, like me, who value organic wines, autochthonous grapes, and traditional flare.
2020 I Veroni Vigneto I Domi Chianti Rùfina DOCG
The standard Rùfina bottling is 90 percent Sangiovese with the balance Canaiolo and Colorino. The wine is aged for a year mostly in French oak casks of 32 HL and 25 HL, but a small portion is moved to smaller French barriques. After bottling, it’s held eight months before release. It offers profuse aromas of sandalwood, cedar, and red fruit, with flavors of black cherry and light accents of raspberry. The texture is velvety at first but builds to a crunchy finish. This is a wine that loves rich braises (try veal or pork ragu).
14.5% ABV | About $18 (sample)
2019 I Veroni Vigneto Quona Chianti Rùfina Riserva DOCG
The Rùfina Riserva bottling is 100 percent Sangiovese from selected plots. The wine spends 18 months in French oak barriques, half new, then 12 months in bottle before release. The aromatics are are woodsy, suggesting cedar, rosemary, and juniper berry. The wine is red-fruited but with more integrated tannic texture than the I Domi bottling. It darkens at the finish with a pleasant crack of black coffee bitterness.
14% ABV | About $26 (sample)