As word grew about the quality of Ruffino’s wines, the winery flourished. The cousins honed their expertise, and soon Ruffino became known for clean, balanced wines, adopting the motto “here we make ideal wine.”
Ruffino’s status was firmly established both nationally and internationally when its Chianti won a Gold Medal at the 1881 Milan Wine Exhibition, a prize at the 1884 Nice Exhibition, and another Gold Medal at the 1885 Antwerp Exhibition.
Intrigued by the winery's reputation, in 1890, the Duke of Aosta braved a long journey to taste the Ruffino wines he had heard so much about. He was so impressed by the wines that he appointed Ruffino as the official supplier to the Italian royal family. In 1927, Ruffino returned some of the honor bestowed upon its wines by releasing its first vintage of Riserva Ducale—named after the Duke of Aosta as an acknowledgement of his esteemed patronage.
The reputation of Ruffino wines continued to spread, and Ruffino soon began to export its wines to the United States and other countries. In fact, the first Chianti imported to the U.S. was Ruffino.
"The careful choice of vineyard locations and the scrupulous grape selection during harvest made this wine perfect for a very long ageing in oak: 2 years in the classic "botti," large oak casks, followed by a further refinement in the bottle. This happened in a period when the nature of Chianti was that of an everyday wine - a peasant's wine. Riserva Ducale has shown the whole world that wines from the Chianti area can be so much more, that the Sangiovese grown on this territory has a noble, generous soul." -Winery