Castello Banfi “Belnero”

Winery: Castello Banfi

Vintage: 2009

Wine Name/Vineyard: Belnero

Wine Category: Tuscan blend

Grape blend: Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot

Bottle size: 750 ml

Region: Tuscany

State or country: Italy

Price: $30

ABV: 15%

Cases produced: N/A

The Barrel Cellar Score:  91 points

Review date: November 23, 2019

About the Winemaker: Castello Banfi was founded in Tuscany in 1978 by a couple of American brothers with Italian heritage. Banfi’s wines consistently receive praise and awards for the quality of their wines. While some may consider the winemakers’ American heritage as a mark against their Italian “Old World” wine making ability, I assure you it shouldn’t be. Castello Banfi consistently makes great wines and receives multiple sought-after awards on a yearly basis.

The grapes for this wine blend are grown on Estate vineyards (from 170 to 230 meters above sea level). It was aged for 14 months in hybrid French oak and stainless-steel tanks.

Color: Deep purple with a hint of maroon

Nose: Floral notes, mushrooms, tobacco, and earth

Taste: Cherry, leather, and tobacco Finish: Leather and plum flesh

Assessment: Sometimes, with blends, I feel like wine makers take decent juice, blend it and give it a heavy dose of oak, simply to hide flaws.  In this case the blend feels natural.  The juice holds character and complexity without presenting heavy palate consuming flavors like jam and compote.  I thought the hybrid French oak and stainless-steel tanks might result in this having more reserved tannins than it does.  The wine is well balanced, but does tip the scale slightly on the tannic side; it’s definitely on the dry side and it’s great.

After 10 years this wine is ready to drink now, but could stand up to a few more years in your cellar.

Castello Banfi “Belnero” is a very good wine and a fantastic value.  91 points. 

Pairing recommendation:  Rigatoni Bolognese with plenty of aged Parmesan or a rare Venison loin.

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