The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2015

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44  /  the tasting panel  / may 2015 TASTINGS B ack in January, Master Sommelier Fred Dame played host to a group of top wine buyers at the Montage in Beverly Hills alongside co-host Cristina Mariani-May, proprietor of the Castello Banfi vineyard estate in Montalcino and co-CEO of Banfi Vintners. Together, they presented a remarkable lineup of Castello Banfi wines from the heralded 2010 vintage. "The critics are saying that the 2010 Brunello vintage is the best in some 200 years," said Dame in his opening remarks. "And anytime you hear that much hype, you're skeptical because you've heard it all before—but this is the real deal." The tasting kicked off with the Castello Banfi 2010 Brunello Classico, which was earthy, but not rustic, showing plums and deep berry fruit. "This will age beautifully because of the balance," said Dame. Of the 2010 Poggio alle Mura, Dame said, "I hate to use the word 'classic' but this is it—dark cherry, dark plums, firm, not harsh tannins, high alcohol, but I'm not backing off—it's balanced." Next, we tasted the 2010 Poggio alle Mura Riserva, a barrel sample, presented for the first time. "It's just beautiful," said Dame to plenty of agreement. Last in the flight was the 2010 Poggio all'Oro Riserva, also a barrel sample showing impeccable balance of fruit, spice, oak, and a racy acidity that brings the wine into focus; chalky, with coffee and mocha on the finish. "If I was teaching a class, I would say this is what Brunello should be," remarked Dame. "And just imagine," chimed in Mariani-May, "the winemaker must decide two years into making Brunello what is to be Riserva, but most of that decision is made in the vineyards." We also sampled flights of 2007s and, to show development, the same wines, vintage-dated 1997. As can be expected, the '97s were dynamite, drinking beauti- fully, while the '07s showed the structure demanded for another decade of aging. A revelatory tasting that proved what the critics are saying. Stock up on the 2010 Brunellos now and give us a call in ten years. The Real Deal CASTELLO BANFI SHOWCASES CELLARWORTHY 2010 BRUNELLOS by Jonathan Cristaldi / photos by Dustin Downing Cristina Mariani-May, proprietor of Castello Banfi, with Master Sommelier Fred Dame, MS (VP/Prestige Accounts for American Wine & Spirits) at the Montage in Beverly Hills. Castello Banfi 2010 Poggio alle Mura Riserva.

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