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 Vintage
Vintage Champagne and Sparkling Wines
Vintage Champagne is made in particularly good years with optimum weather and the best grape selection.
Some houses, like Dom Perignon, only make vintage Champagne,
so they do not produce a wine every year and have no
What makes vintage Champagne better? Well, status for one – many vintage Champagnes are made in small quantities,
so low supply and high demand beefs up the price and the prestige of a vintage bottle. And of course, beyond the
status symbol of vintage Champagne is the taste and care given to the grapes. For vintage Champagne, the grapes
are carefully selected, the blends painstakingly created and the ageing process lovingly prolonged. Vintage Champagnes
are often more complex and flavorful than their non-vintage counterparts, and can often age for up to a decade or two,
although most houses release their bottles at an optimum time for drinking. Vintage Champagne differs from non-vintage
because the winemaker's focus is on that specific year rather than a blend to match the house style.
Sparkling wines from regions that follow the traditional method are apt to create vintage wines as well. These regions
typically enjoy more freedom in their vintage choices. While they only make wines from years they deem worthy of
vintage, they do not have a regulated body to declare a vintage year, so it's to the winemaker's discretion in
making a vintage or non-vintage.
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.