Banfi Brunello di Montalcino (half-bottle) 1998
Brunello di Montalcino was Italy's first wine to be accorded D.O.C.G. status, a testament to its aristocracy, balance and fabulous proclivity for aging. Under the direction of Banfi's master winemakers, Brunello grapes are transformed into a remarkable world-class wine, perhaps the most respected red of Italy. Aged for a total of four years, including a minimum of two years in oak barrels, Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino is a wine of robust character. It possesses a rich garnet color, and a depth, complexity and opulence that is softened by an elegant, lingering aftertaste.
Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino's regal qualities are best exhibited with game, red meats, roasts, hearty stews and rich powerful cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano.
"Loads of mineral and dried flowers behind the ripe fruit and almost raisiny character. Full-bodied, with smooth, silky tannins and a long fruity, berry, almost fresh herb aftertaste. An exceptional wine. Best after 2004."
Banfi was founded in 1978 thanks to the will of the Italian-American brothers, John and Harry Mariani. From the beginning, the goal of the two brothers was to create a state-of-the-art winery combined with the most advanced science in the vineyards for the production of premium wines.
Together with the Mariani family, Ezio Rivella, one of Italy's foremost enologists, who understood that due to the richness of the soils and the privileged microclimatic position, the property would have great capacity of development.
Famous for its bold, layered and long-lived red, Brunello di Montalcino, the town of Montalcino is about 70 miles south of Florence, and has a warmer and drier climate than that of its neighbor, Chianti. The Sangiovese grape is king here, as it is in Chianti, but Montalcino has its own clone called Brunello.
The Brunello vineyards of Montalcino blanket the rolling hills surrounding the village and fan out at various elevations, creating the potential for Brunello wines expressing different styles. From the valleys, where deeper deposits of clay are found, come wines typically bolder, more concentrated and rich in opulent black fruit. The hillside vineyards produce wines more concentrated in red fruits and floral aromas; these sites reach up to over 1,600 feet and have shallow soils of rocks and shale.
Brunello di Montalcino by law must be aged a minimum of four years, including two years in barrel before realease and once released, typically needs more time in bottle for its drinking potential to be fully reached. The good news is that Montalcino makes a “baby brother” version. The wines called Rosso di Montalcino are often made from younger vines, aged for about a year before release, offer extraordinary values and are ready to drink young.