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High on a hilltop in the medieval town of Montalcino sits Castello Banfi. Resting in the southern foothills of Tuscany – within 70 miles of Florence – the area is known for their Brunello di Montalcino wines. Brunello means “the little dark one.”
The Sangiovese grape is grown throughout Tuscany and the grape clone is used to make outstanding Chianti. The wines of Castello Banfi, as they say at the winery, are “a range of careful selections of grapes from their best vineyards in Montalcino.” Castello Banfi‘s winemaking expertise is demonstrated in three estate-bottled Tuscan Reds. These three estate-bottled wines are wisely hand-crafted and are very limited in quantities so as to produce outstanding wines. I must also point out that Castello Banfi is the #1 winery in the world that is recognized for exceptional environmental, social and ethical responsibility, and leadership in customer service. Castello Banfi was also awarded the Winery of the Year in Europe by the 2015 Winemaker Challenge International Wine Competition.
Summus 2011 Toscana Red is an extraordinary blend of 40 percent Sangiovese, 35 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 25 percent Syrah. This wine is aged in French oak barrels for one year. After aging for a year, they are then blended and continue to age for an additional eight to 10 months in the barrel. The wine is then aged again for another six months in the bottle before reaching the market. The result is a rich, complex wine with soft fruit flavors that pair very well with red meat dishes and aged cheeses. This wine retails for $72.99.
Cum Laude 2009 Toscana Red is a blend of 30 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 percent Merlot, 25 percent Sangiovese and 15 percent Syrah. After fermentation, the wines are separately racked into French oak barrels where malolactic fermentation takes place and the wine ages for six months. Then the wine is blended into a cuvee and aged another six months in the barrels. After the wine ages and is bottled, it ages again for another six months before heading to the market. The result is a rich, complex, powerful wine that is well-structured with remarkable fruit and tannins. It pairs very well with grilled meats and medium-aged cheese. This wine retails for $39.99.
Belnero 2010 Toscana is a wine that is almost all Sangiovese and according to the winery, it is“aged for a very long time in the French oak barrels.” They say that the winemaker determines how long the wine will age in the barrels before being bottled. “Belnero is a wine that celebrates the experience, the passion and the 30 years of commitment to quality that Banfi has incessantly been dedicated to in its pursuit of excellence in the vineyard and in the winery.” This wine retails for $29.99.
Look for these wines or ask for them at your favorite retailer in the Greater Akron Area. You may find these wines or order them at the following retailers: West Point Market, Papa Joe’s Wine Shop, Regency, 750ml, Riverside Wine and Imports, Acme Fresh Markets, Buehler’s, Market District and Heinen’s.
Wine Wisdom: Certain flavors and aromas can suggest the age or varietal make-up of wines. Knowing these generalities can help make you a pro in a blind wine tasting. For example, soft red fruits—strawberry, cherry, red currant— typically are associated with Pinot Noir’s.
/ Rick Rodger is a manager at Heidelberg Distributing Company.