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.
|The The Pursuit of Excellence was written by the team of winemakers and agronomists at Castello Banfi together with scholars from the universities of Pisa and Milan. It is a case study in the enological and viticultural experience of the Castello Banfi vineyard estate in Montalcino, Tuscany over the past 30 years. It details groundbreaking research into the clones of the Sangiovese vine; Zonation to match international grape varietals to their ideal mircoclimate in the 29 different subsoils of the 7,100 acre estate; development of hybrid oak and steel fermentation tanks; customization of aging barriques to optimize the relation between wood and wine; and in-depth review of the soils, weeds, crops, cultivation techniques, pruning and other agricultural details. The Pursuit of Excellence represents an opportunity to understand the dynamic Banfi universe made up of women, men, dedication, professionalism, and much, much passion.|
Banfi’s New World Portfolio
See the full list on their web site
|First making a splash in the 1990’s with remarkably priced quality wines from Chile, Concha y Toro’s folio has expanded to include many more respected wines, including names like Trivento, Don Melchor, Terrunyo, Casillero del Diablo Reserva, and Marques de Casa Concha. So Concha y Toro clearly has a solid future, but you may not realize how much history they have as well. In 1883, Don Melchor de Concha y Toro and his wife, Dona Emiliana Subercaseaux, brought to Chile the noblest grapevines of the Bordeaux region of France and established one of chile’s most important and revered wineries, Vina Concha y Toro. Working together with U.S. importer, Banfi Vintners since 1988, Concha y Toro has joined the ranks of the world’s premier producers.|
|When it comes to organic farming, Chile is a natural. Flanked by the Andes to the east and the Pacific to the west, this long, narrow, remote land enjoys a geography and climate uniquely well suited to organic farming. Chile’s pristine environment offers exceptional growing conditions in which to nurture world-class organic wines. Founded in 1986 by Chile’s Guilisasti family, VIÑEDOS EMILIANA is a privately owned initiative dedicated to producing wines made from organic grapes and, in the case of the super-premium Emiliana Gê and Coyam, made in accordance with biodynamic principals as well. Introduction of the debut 2003 vintage Gê marked the release of South America’s first ever certified biodynamic wine.|
|Located 250 miles north of Santiago, in the rapidly developing Limari Valley, Concha y Toro has developed an exciting new project, Maycas del Limarí. Maycas, means “croplands” in Quechua. This land was the foundation of the Inca Empire, the most powerful civilization in South America. Limarí takes its name from the Franciscan monk who first planted grapes here in 1548. The Limarí valley benefits from a strong coastal influence – more so than Chile’s other coastal areas such as Casablanca, Marchigüe and San Antonio, as the coastal range of mountains which hugs the shoreline starts in Limarí, and features lower elevations than the rest of the range as it heads southward. That means more of the ocean breezes make their way up into the valley. The wines produced here reflect the luminosity of the zone, the minerality of the rich marine soils and the extraordinary coastal breezes. The Limarí area represents one of the longest growing seasons in the world for wine grapes. Maycas del Limarí Reserva Especial wines draw their inspiration from the Inca solar calendar, prominently displayed on each label.|
|Palo Alto, meaning “Tall Tree” is named for the massive trees that tower over this estate’s vineyards in the Maule Valle in Chile. Héctor Urzúa, winemaker of Palo Alto, has dedicated over 20 years searching for the best vineyards within Chile and has found the premium conditions for each of these varieties in specific regions within Chile’s famed Maule Valley. The winery’s vineyards are gently caressed by a Mediterranean climate with an extended dry season and very sunny days. Palo Alto Reserve, a red cuvee, and a white Sauvignon Blanc are produced here and showcase the a true expression of the generous terrior.|
|Trivento embraces a comprehensive range of wines, starting with Trivento Reserve, a line of five varietals that expertly illustrate the quality and competitive value that Argentinean wines can offer. Trivento subsequently released its much admired limited edition Trivento Golden Reserve wines. At the pinnacle of offerings is Trivento Eolo, a super-premium reserve Malbec that debuted with a 93 rating in the June 2008, issue of Wine Spectator magazine. The winery’s latest release, Amado Sur, honors the marriage between the vines and the foothills of the Andes Mountains, where grapes develop complexity and unique expressions that could only be described as “a love of the south”, thus “Amado Sur”. At every level, Trivento wines are designed to provide the wine lover with superb value and an authentic expression of the world-class potential of Argentinean winemaking and terroir.|
Banfi’s European Portfolio
See the full list on their web site