As 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 by wine aficionados the world over. Capturing honor after prestigious honor, the American-owned estate was declared "International Winery of the Year" for an unprecedented fourth year at the 2000 VinItaly Wine Competition. The winery has also been named Italy's best wine estate every year since 1994.
Though savoring these achievements as she would a glass of her finest vintage, family proprietor Cristina Mariani is hardly resting on her laurels. In the continual pursuit of superior quality ingrained in her by her father, Castello Banfi founder John F. Mariani, she works constantly to improve upon every detail, from winemaking and packaging to the estate's renowned hospitality.
Castello Banfi's origins trace to the 1950's when John Mariani began dreaming about expanding the trade's horizons. Fortune smiled years later, thanks to the success of Banfi's role as a wine merchant. John and his brother, Harry, established Castello Banfi in 1978, with a vision to depart from conventional winemaking rules and craft products that would appeal to modern consumer tastes while continuing to satisfy the lofty demands of the connoisseur. Working with the world's leading enologists in one of the most evocative regions for quality wine production, they assembled a contiguous estate of 2,830 hectares (7,100 acres), selecting ideal sites within to plant a constellation of single vineyards covering more than 800 hectares (2.400 acres). Today, wines flow from their Tuscan cellars to over 50 countries around the world.
The starting point for Castello Banfi was the undeniable concept that the quality of the wines is determined first and foremost in the vineyard. Plantings began only after months of soil preparation that would give the vines greater access to the sun's rays and proper drainage. To further ensure success, six artificial lakes were built to supply the estate's irrigation system.
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 aging cellars lined with casks of Slavonian oak and barriques of French and American oak.
Signature wines of the Castello Banfi estate, in addition to the single-vineyard Poggio all'Oro Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, are two proprietary cuvÃƒÆ’Ã†â€™Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â©es, SummuS and ExcelsuS. Several noble varietals, including Tavernelle Cabernet Sauvignon, Fontanelle Chardonnay and San Angelo Pinot Grigio, are produced there as well as traditional wines of the region, such as Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino.
Overlooking the vineyards is the estate's medieval showpiece, a Romanesque fortress now known as Castello Banfi. Meticulously restored as a hospitality center, it boasts a formal restaurant, an enoteca and a glass museum.
Visit the Castello Banfi website