A heavenly sweetie

2006 Vin Santo del Chianti Rufina, Selvapiana, Tuscany, Italy (£35.99, 50cl bottle, Cambridge Wine Merchants, 01223-568989, www.cambridgewine.com; Valvona & Crolla, 0131-556 6066, www.valvonacrolla.co.uk).

I like Vin Santo enormously. It’s a guilty pleasure – little bottles which cost the earth. However, this famous style of sweet wine from Tuscany varies enormously from manky, seaweedy, treacle-flavoured shockers all of the way up to this wine and my other favourite, Isole e Olena, which offer a unique and often unsurpassed sweet wine experience.

I occasionally open a bottle at dinner parties and sometimes sneakily serve it blind for travelling winemakers (who never get the chance to taste this nectar), but absence definitely makes the heart grow fonder in Vin Santo’s case.

My featured wine is, without doubt, the finest example of this ‘dried grape’ sweetie I have tasted in years. Winemaker Federico Giuntini Masseti conjures up heavenly wines.

His Chianti Rufina Riserva Bucerchiale is a phenomenal red often gaining stellar scores in my notes. But this 2006 vintage Vin Santo shot to 19.520 when I tasted it back in January.

After five years maturing in barrels, during which time the wine oxidises down to 20% of its initial yield, I will bet you’ve never tasted anything as noble or as multi-layered in the sweet wine world.

• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (www.matthewjukes.com).

Merryn

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