Main Street Party Ann Arbor Wine Sellers

Banfi’s Passionate Commitment To The Art & Science Of Wine

We recently devoted an entire section to
the exceptional wines of the Banfi folio.

There’s a very good chance you’ve seen the name Banfi; it makes an appearance nearly everywhere you see even a moderately-sized selection of wine. You may also know that Banfi is one of the more established names in wine, with a history stretching back to 1919. But you may not be aware of how extensive Banfi’s folio really is. It includes familiar old world names like, Bolla, Castello Banfi, Cecchi and Vigne Regali, but it also includes some of the most respected names in new world wines as well, like Concha y Toro and their Don Melchor, Terrunyo, and Casillero del Diablo wines, as well as other fine new world wines like Palo Alto, Trivento, Maycas del Limari, and Emiliana (the organic vineyards of Chile). I remember well the first time I personally saw the name Banfi. It was the 1970’s, and I was about ten. The wines typically available in a restaurant in the states back then were often limited to mass market “Chablis” or “Burgundy”, but my folks were splurging at a hip Mediterranean restaurant in my hometown. The place was garishly decorated in a style catastrophe common to the era; a sort of “mirrored fern bar meets rustic hanging wicker Chianti bottles” theme. One of these wicker Chianti bottles happened to be sitting on our table, and my folks seemed to be enjoying the contents quite a bit, so I asked if I could try some. I was, as I said, about ten, but my parents were trying to raise a continental kid, so they poured some for me. I took a swallow, and shuddered. The snobs amongst you will say “of course you shuddered, you were drinking a crappy 70’s mass market Chianti from Banfi!” But the fact is, I only shuddered because I had never tasted wine before, and the wine in question – Banfi’s Bell’Agio – is still in production today, serving the same purpose it did back then. Which is providing a drinkable wine in a charming and romantic package, perfect for picnics or patio quaffing. But this amusing image has little to do with the Banfi of today, which is a sophisticated and brilliantly evolved organization. Banfi fuses the best of many worlds in their now global business vision – family and tradition, combined with a passion for the art of – and devotion to the science of – winemaking. This commitment to the art and science of fine winemaking is evident in the gorgeously illustrated and detailed book The Pursuit of Excellence, a 440+ page volume about the history, methods, vision and philosophy of Banfi. We happen to have a copy on hand if you’d like to stop by and peruse it. Short of actually planning a trip to three continents, it’s probably the best glimpse of Banfi’s estates, vineyards, and scientific methods and analysis you’ll ever see. Some samples of the book are featured below. Like we said, feel free to stop by and see for yourself. But it might be even more fun to actually try one of the 30 or so Banfi wines we’re currently featuring! More on the Banfi folio below. (more…)

Posted By:Admin March 31, 2011

Champagne For Your Real Friends, Shamrocks For Your Irish Ones

It’s been quipped that all Scottish food was originally based on a dare. Along the same lines, we might say that St Patrick’s Day is based on a tradition of kidnapping. Although you may know that St. Patrick lived in Ireland, the part of the story that’s often left out is that he was actually from a wealthy Romano-British family, and was kidnapped by Irish raiders. Which sounds perhaps a bit more in the rugged and heroic Irish spirit. The kidnapping theme was continued later, when Americans kidnapped the official celebration of Irish culture and heritage, and turned it into a day to wear silly green hats and stumble the streets of Boston or Chicago in search of green beer. The fact that a considerable amount of drinking seems to take place on St. Patrick’s Day should not be surprising; historically the Irish have tended to take a lot of pride in their drinking ability. Which is probably why there are so many fine Irish whiskeys and beers to toast St Patrick’s day. Below are a few we have on hand. They’re magically delicious!


Posted By:Admin March 10, 2011

Do We Carry Organic & Local Wines? Naturally!

In much the same way that the labeling for organic food products can be confusing, using the word “organic” on the label doesn’t mean that the wine you’re drinking is 100% organic. But the guidelines for organic wine aren’t that complicated, and once you know them, you can know what you’re getting, and know that no matter how organic a particular wine is, simply purchasing it sends the message that more people want organic wine, encouraging producers to pursue organic production. So what are the basic classifications? In the states, there are four: “100% Organic”, “Organic”, “Made With Organic Ingredients”, and “Some Organic Ingredients”. For a wine to be labeled with the USDA “Organic” seal, it must be made from organically grown grapes and give information about who the certifying agency is. It may not contain added sulfites. It may contain naturally occurring sulfites, but the level must be less than 20 parts per million. A wine may be labeled “Made with Organic Grapes” or “Made with Organically Grown Grapes”, which means (obviously) that the wine was made from organic grapes, but it can include added sulfites. And just what are these sulfites we’re always hearing about? Well, they’re anti-microbials and anti-oxidants often used in the production of wine, which also may occur naturally in the production, without being added. There’s considerable debate about any health issues related to them, but here are the basic guidelines for labeling: If the level is above 10 parts per million, the label must say “Contains Sulfites.” If the level is below the ATF’s ability to detect it, there may still be sulfites, but the label can say “Sulfite Free”. The label “No Added Sulfites” means just what it says – the winery did not add sulfites to the wine – but there may be naturally occurring sulfites in the wine that are a byproduct of fermentation. It’s important to note that the label guidelines we mentioned above are for domestic wines; there are other agencies in Europe and Latin America that will use different regulations and labels, but mostly based on the basic idea of “all organic”, “made from organically grown grapes”, or “no added sulfites”. In fact, a number of producers abroad have always utilized methods that would qualify as “organic”, simply because of faith in traditional natural methods. Whatever your reason for wanting your wine to be organic, there are a growing number of producers pursuing the organic route, and we wholeheartedly support the movement, so we’ve devoted an entire section to local and organic wine. Because as we suggested above, no vote is more powerful than the one we send with our wallets. We have over fifty organic wines on hand (not including those from abroad which would qualify but choose not to label), and plan to continue expanding the selection. If we’re missing a good one, let us know, we’ll see if we can get it for you. And about local wine? This gets interesting. The most local of the wines we carry – DeAngelis wines from Ann Arbor – are made from grapes that are not local, but everything else from end-to-end is local. And then there’s a matter of “how local is local?”, because we also have over 60 wines grown and bottled right here in Michigan. Below is a small selection of exceptional wines from all over that we have on hand, that are probably known more for being great wine, rather than simply because they’re organic.

Posted By:Admin March 7, 2011

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