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Banfi - Castello Banfi - Vineyards in Montalcino, Siena, Tuscany, Italy

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 Contact Information

Banfi - Castello Banfi
Address - Castello Di Poggio Alle Mura, Montalcino, 53024

Telephone - +39 0577 840111

Fax - +39 0577 840444

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 General Information

A family-owned vineyard estate and winery in the Brunello region of Tuscany, Castello Banfi’s dedication to excellence in the art of winemaking has been recognized the world over. Capturing honor after prestigious honor, the American-owned estate has been declared “International Winery of the Year” an unprecedented four times at VinItaly’s International Enological Concourse, which also named Castello Banfi “Italy’s Best Wine Estate” eleven times since 1994. Wine Enthusiast Magazine declared the estate its “Winery of the Year,” and editors of Wine Spectator have ranked Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino and the Riserva Poggio all’Oro Brunello di Montalcino in their top 10 wines of the year twice in the last three years, while their readers declared it “Wine of the Year” in an online poll. Perhaps most gratifying of all is the praise of neighboring vintners who acknowledge Banfi’s role in pioneering a new era in Brunello and bringing the wine world’s attention to Montalcino.

Though savoring these achievements as they would a glass of their finest vintage, family proprietors Cristina Mariani-May and James Mariani are hardly resting on their laurels. In the continual pursuit of superior quality ingrained in them by their fathers, Castello Banfi co-founders and brothers John and Harry Mariani, they work constantly to improve upon every detail, from winemaking and packaging to the estate’s renowned hospitality.

The Marianis established Castello Banfi in 1978, assembling a contiguous estate of 7,100 acres (2,830 hectares). A constellation of single vineyards spreads out to cover only 1/3 of the property, starting with the undeniable concept that quality is determined first and foremost in the vineyard.

Castello Banfi pioneered the planting of noble French grape varieties in the area, and research continues to pair the various microclimates on the estate with the varieties that will flourish under those conditions. But Banfi’s most intensive undertaking was on behalf of the zone’s native Sangiovese for Brunello. Castello Banfi initially identified 160 presumed clones and, through cataloguing vineyards and microvinification, narrowed the selection down to a final 15 complementary clones that are planted in pre-determined proportion to yield the most consistently outstanding Brunello. These results were shared with neighboring producers to help raise the bar for quality in Montalcino.

If the vineyards are the soul of the estate, then the winery is its very heart. It combines state-of-the-art equipment with traditional cellars for casks of Slavonian oak and barriques of French oak. Here too, little was left to chance or custom. Banfi winemakers personally select the raw wood from the forests of France and bring it to the estate for seasoning under their watchful eye. Coopers then apply a modified toasting that uses an indirect and cooler fire than usual and for a longer period of time in order to achieve more uniform and balanced flavors. The custom barrels are also slightly larger than the traditional barrique, optimizing the ratio of wood surface area to volume of wine.

Signature wines of the Castello Banfi estate, available in 50 countries around the world, include the single-vineyard reserve Poggio all’Oro and unfiltered cru Poggio alle Mura Brunellos, as well as three proprietary cuvées, ExcelsuS, SummuS and Cum Laude. Other single-vineyard bottlings include Tavernelle Cabernet Sauvignon, Colvecchio Syrah and San Angelo Pinot Grigio.

Overlooking the vineyards is the estate’s showpiece, a medieval fortress now known as Castello Banfi. Meticulously restored as a hospitality center, it boasts a glass museum, enoteca, and two restaurants: the informal “Taverna Banfi,” serving traditional dishes of the region, and “Ristorante Castello Banfi,” serving Mediterranean-inspired Tuscan cuisine in a fine dining ambiance. Within a year of opening, the restaurant was recognized for its excellence with a prestigious Michelin Star. In late 2006, “Castello Banfi – Il Borgo” will open 14 luxury guest rooms alongside the castle to host discriminating guests.

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