I saw Il Ducale (a more recent vintage) on sale at Ralph's recently, and it made me think of a bottle of their 2004 I had at least a year ago, maybe longer. I had notes on it, so I'm presenting them here.
"Classy looking maroon and wheat label with a picture of an etching. It looks to be a nobleman being served a glass of wine by a young fellow dressed a lot like Robin Hood. There is a woman waiting, off to the side, and some horses on the other side. A hilltop peaks in the background and forms a pyramid directly over the nobleman's glass of wine. Or maybe it was water. Who really knows?
"There's a lot at play on this whiff. Seems like blackberries, cherries and what my wife calls a "grape jelly" aroma predominate. She means the liquid grape jelly, before it is made into jelly. We also smell Band Aids and a little petrol, or creosote. Something like that. Very interesting smell.
"I love Sangiovese, and Ruffino does it so well. This is no exception. The fruit is bold, but not overpowering. The wine feels good in the mouth, but not too heavy. Nice finish that leaves me wanting more. I had the wine with a blue cheese. It tasted great, although the cheese was probably a bit too much for the wine. This bottle came from my local supermarket, Ralph's, who had it on sale for about $16. It's usually a $22 bottle. It always tastes better when you got a good deal, doesn't it?"
Variety: 80% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot, 5% other red varieties
Appellation: Italy > Tuscany
Vineyard: Ruffino Estate and other Tuscan
Alcohol Level: 12.5% abv
Acquisition disclaimer: Purchased by the author