FOOD & WINE

Castello Banfi's 'once in a lifetime' Brunello di Montalcino

5-star Tuscany vintage is drinking well now but will keep for another 10 years

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 July, 2015, 7:05pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 July, 2015, 7:05pm

The Montalcino wine region is located in the south of Tuscany, in central Italy. The climate tends to be warmer and drier than neighbouring Chianti Classico and Montepulciano. One of the dominant wines in the region is Brunello di Montalcino, a red made entirely from sangiovese grapes.

Strict regulations govern winemaking in the region. Wines must be aged for a minimum of two years in oak and four months in bottles. They are traditionally aged in large Slovenian oak casks, although modern winemakers are experimenting with small French barriques.

Castello Banfi is a family-owned vineyard estate. Its co-CEO, Cristina Mariani-May, completed her education at Georgetown University and Columbia Business School before working for the family wine business, coordinating Banfi's activity in Italy and the US and contributing to the development of the brand.

Using a blend of tradition and innovation, Mariani-May — a mother of three and marathon runner — has made dramatic changes to the wine business. She created new tracking and monitoring systems, and set initiatives to increase performance and establish new goals in the areas of customer satisfaction, environmental responsibility and social responsibility.

Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino 2010 The 2010 vintage is described as exceptional and was awarded five stars by the Consorzio del Vino de Brunello di Montalcino. Wine writer James Suckling called 2010 "the vintage of a lifetime".

Vibrant, sweet plum, cherry, floral notes. Full bodied, with core of ripe cherry. Balanced with crisp acidity and firm underlying tannin. Approachable and drinking well now. Will keep for a further 10 years. HK$555

Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino Poggio alle Mura 2007 The five-star 2007 vintage offers forward, rich wines that are drinking beautifully, with ripe tannins and opulent fruit.

Restrained, fragrant with cherry, liquorice and savoury notes. Medium bodied, good fruit intensity, with integrated tannins. Very elegant, showing some maturity but can cellar for a longer. HK$757

Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino Poggio alle Mura 2010 Poggio alle Mura means Walled Hilltop, referring to the medieval castle that sits on the estate. During the Middle Ages, the castle served as defence for the Republic of Siena against attack from the southern regions.

Some 90 per cent of the wine is aged in French barriques for 24 months and the remaining 10 per cent in Slovenian oak casks. The wine is further bottle aged for another 12 months before release.

Rich, dense red fruit, strawberry. Full bodied, framed with spicy oak tannins and a long finish. Great purity of fruit. An elegant wine that will evolve and improve over the next decade. HK$686

All available at the Wine Gallery by ASC Wines Hong Kong, tel: 3923 6790