In 1978 John and Harry Mariani, owners of the U.S. wine importer Banfi Vintners, established the award winning vineyard estate and winery Castello Banfi in the Brunello region of Tuscany. A constellation of single vineyards located on ideal sites cover about one third of the 7,100 acre (2,830 hectares) estate. The remaining land consists of bucolic meadows, olive and plum groves, and woodland. Central to the property is a medieval castle that functions as a hospitality center, hosting visitors at a full service restaurant, enoteca and museum dedicated to the history of glass and its relation to wine.
Learn More About Non-Vintage
Most Champagne you encounter will be NV, or non-vintage. This is because the base wine is a blend of wine from
In producing non-vintage wines, Champagne houses strive to keep the taste consistent year by year, and non-vintage
the winemakers flexibility in blending, ensuring a constant style each year. Non-vintage Champagne is released when
it is ready,
so drink within a year or two after you purchase or receive a bottle. That said, there are some stars of non-vintage
that are as
good as many vintage bottlings and can last a few more years. The higher priced non-vintage, or multiple vintages, like
Krug's Grand Cuvée and
Laurent Perrier's Grand Siecle
are prestige cuvées, or tète de cuvées. This means these are the top blends from the house, and of no less quality
vintage Champagne. Krug makes no entry level
Champagne, so everything you see from them is a prestige cuvée.
The difference in styles can be categorized by body. Here's a quick cheat sheet for some of our most popular
Moët & Chandon
Sparkling wines from other regions that are made in the traditional method will also differentiate their
non-vintage and vintage bottlings, just as Champagne. Non-vintage sparkling wine from most wineries will often
have a house style, just as the Champagne houses.
Learn More About Piedmont, Italy
Piedmont is located in the Northwest area of Italy, hugging the Mediterranean coast. The regional capital, Turin, is situated smack in the middle of the province. Being close to the alps, the area enjoys a high altitude, with the best vineyards benefiting from the hills and elevation. Known for its famous sub-districts, Piedmont delivers some of the most distinctive, high-quality, ageable wine of Italy. Most popular are the DOCG districts Barolo and Barbaresco, producing Nebbiolo-based wine of the same name. Two other DOCGs of note are Gattinara and Gheme – both make wine from Nebbiolo and are typically earlier to drink but more rustic than their Barolo and Barberesco partners. City-districts in the DOC category include Alba and Asti, where wine like Dolcetto d'Alba and Barbera d'Asti is made, putting the grape name before the town.
Not just regulated to red wine, Piedmont also produces some notable whites, particularly those near the district of Gavi and Asti. Gavi produces still white wine from the Cortese grape. The wine is dry with a crisp, citrus-like acidity – fairly neutral but pleasant. Arneis is another grape/wine made in the area, creating a fuller wine that displays some nuttiness in the aroma and taste. Asti is well known for its sparkling wine – in particular Asti Spumante and Moscato d'Asti. Asti Spumante is typically higher in alcohol, sweetness & fizziness, while its higher-class cousin, Mostcato d'Asti, contains lower alcohol levels, a few less bubbles, and a more restrained and delicate representation of Moscato fruit.