One of the true joys of the continued internationalisation of the Italian wine industry is the fact that it is now able to incorporate ideas from further afield in order to continue its own growth. With burgeoning wine industries in countries like the United States and Chile, in addition to the more traditional European wine producers like France and Germany, there are now a whole range of different techniques and innovations that can be taken into account when creating the latest vintages.
There are a number of more modern wine producers who are currently based in Italy that make use of this philosophy. Perhaps one of the most important is Castello Banti, which brings together some of the production techniques that have been innovated elsewhere and uses them to create Italian wines of superb quality.
Castello Banfi was founded in 1978, making it one of the newer wine producers to make a name for itself in the industry. The company was formed by a pair of Italian-American brothers named John and Harry Mariani, which provides an immediate indication that they would bring something a little bit different to their company thanks to the influence of having grown up in an entirely different culture to many of their counterparts in Italy.
They made this clear from the very beginning, placing all of their focus on innovation and the use of new techniques in order to create the best wines possible. Their goal has always been to make use of a state of the art winery, alongside the most advanced sciences in order to produce premium wines. Their penchant for innovation extends through every aspect of the company, though it is often most clearly seen in the vineyards.
The brothers quickly enlisted the services of Ezio Rivella when they established their company. Ezio is one of the foremost enologists in all of Italy and it was his understanding of the land and what it can bring to wine that allowed the duo to start making the strides that they have in the industry. He recognized the richness of the soil, alongside microclimatic conditions, would play a large part in the creation and quality of the wines the brothers produced and advised them accordingly.
This led to them purchasing the historic Bruzzone, which is a winery in Piedmont that has plenty of history. Having first been established in 1860, the winery had specialised in sparkling wines but, with the influence of Ezio, the brothers have made use of it to craft their own vintages and it is now known as Banfi Piedmont, demonstrating their aptitude for combining culturally and historically significant practices with the latest techniques.
Returning to the vineyards, the Castello Banfi estate extends all the way to the south of Montalcino, bordering on the Val d’Orcia. The company now owns a rather astonishing 7,100 acres of land, which demonstrates a remarkable expansion in what is a fairly short time period. The brothers use this land for diverse purposes, with about a third being used for the continued cultivation of their vineyards, while the rest is occupied by fruit trees, olive groves and wooded areas to give the estate a varied and exciting mixture of purposes.
Banfi Piedmont was created out of this vineyard and is intended to be a project that demonstrates the prized denominations that the lower Piedmont area has always been known for, with the added touch that the Italian-American brothers bring from an entirely different culture. They bring together the decades of sparkling wine production that their winery has been known for over the years with a mature and innovative approach to winemaking that has allowed them to make use of their cellars to craft some truly unique vintages.
This is the main hub when it comes to the winemaking activities of Castello Banfi, with the winery and related lands extending between the towns of Novi Ligure and Acqui Terme, covering an astonishing 124 acres of land, of which the vast majority is used to grow the grapes that are used in many of the wines produced by the company.
Their dedication to innovation and the creation of some truly wonderful wines has allowed Castello Banfi to extend its reach over the years. Their dedication to the Tuscany region has seen them make strides in areas such as Bolgheri, where they make use of a small estate to craft interesting wines that harken back to the legends of Etruscan wine production while also, again, making use of new techniques and innovations. They have also made strides in areas such as Maremma and, perhaps most impressively, Chianti, which is the region where one of the most well-known and popular Italian wines is produced.
Through it all the brothers have maintained their dedication to innovation and continued expansion of their company, with the overall aim of creating spectacular wines that demonstrate that a fusion of the old with the new has the capability of providing something truly special to consumers. With that in mind, here we will look at a red wine that comes from the hilly area of Montalcino and is amongst the best to be produced by the company.
The 2010 vintage of Banfi Brunello di Montalcino has the capacity to astound from the moment that you pour it from the bottle, with the wine shimmering with a gorgeous ruby red colouring that will draw the taster in long before the wine ever reaches their lips.
When brought to the nose you will encounter a gorgeous bouquet that is most noted for the scent of light vanilla but is almost ethereal in nature, with just the smallest hints of other scents appearing before vanishing as quickly as they arrived.
All of this simply tempts the taste even more and they will be in for a treat when the wine is consumed. It is full-bodied and remarkably soft, while also offering an intensity that hints at the efforts that have gone into its production. The scents of vanilla will give way to spicier flavours, with liquorice and goudron being some of the most noticeable notes.