Castello Banfi is a rarity among Italian wine estates, not just because of its size , its composition of single vineyards, or its state-of-the-art winery, but because it was started from scratch less than 20 years ago. Most of the land was covered with forest and brush when the Mariani family found it; nevertheless, they recognized that the site was exactly what they had been searching for.

John and Harry Mariani, successful American importers, joined forces with Italy's leading enologist, Ezio Rivella; their objective was to produce top-quality wine on a scale never before attempted in Italy. The first step was to find suitable land. The criteria was direct: the climate and soil had to be ideal for the cultivation of many of the world's noble grape varieties, and it had to be within a region of Italy that already had a tradition of quality winemaking. The 4,500 acres that they first found were near Montalcino, and eligible for the DOCG of Brunello di Montalcino, one of the most prestigious of all Italian wines. By great good luck the adjacent estate, of 2,600 acres, became available shortly afterwards. The 11th century castle was the final purchase, and was acquired in 1984. The estate was renamed Castello Banfi.

When planting most of the international varietals, Castello Banfi's winemakers relied on documented studies, professional advice, and their own experience to select the proper vine clones for the diverse soils and sun exposures on the estate. Yet they found no scientific standards or documented results for the Sangiovese, despite a centuries-long history of that vine in the area. On their own, they identified over 100 distinct clones of Sangiovese Brunello. They first narrowed the selection down to 60, which they planted in experimental vineyards on the Castello Banfi estate. Through subsequent field study and microvinification, the selection was further narrowed to a final six clones, based on their individual contributions to the final blend, including color, structure, tannin, body, and bouquet. Not only did Castello Banfi plant new vineyards accordingly, but shared the results with neighboring producers. The residual of this practice is increasing quality standards throughout the region.

Castello Banfi / 53024 Montalcino (SI) Italy / U.S.  800-645-6511 / Italy  0577-840-111

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