Brunello di Montalcino
About the Producer: 
Banfi, the largest producer of Brunello di Montalcino with nearly 350,000 bottles a year, is owned by the Mariani family, which built the firm into the prime importer of Italian wines in the United States. The estate, developed by the eminent enologist Ezio Rivella, who recently retired, takes in vast spreads of vine in the southwestern corner of Montalcino around the imposing castle of Poggio alle Mura (now called Castello Banfi). Banfi specializes in Brunello, in both a regular vintage bottleing and a single-vineyard reserve known as Poggio all’Oro (Golden Hill), which was first produced in 1985. That wine, which has won numerous awards in Italy, is especially prized in America, where, at a recent Sotheby’s auction in New York, a six-bottle case of the great 1990 vintage sold at 1,380. Equally impressive is the 1993 Poggio all’Oro, which stood out in Montalcino. Admires anticipate even greater things when the 1995 and 1997 vintages are issued in 2001 and 2003. Brothers John and Harry Mariani bought the property at Montalcino in 1978 and commissioned Ezio Rivella to develop what ranks as Italy’s most colossal wine estate, a project that hastened the confirmation of the once rare and coveted Brunello as a red wine of international stature. From the 800 hectares of vine at Montalcino, Banfi range beyond Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino through reds and whites from varieties that include Cabernet, Merlot, Pinto Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Some of these qualify under the recent Sant’Antimo DOC for impeccable value at all price levels, also produced white Gavi and sparkling wines from vineyards and cellars in Piedmont.