Thursday, September 27, 2012

Report from ... Back for More Banfi – September 19, 2012

Today's wine list ...
Just 5 months ago I sat at a table in Bravi Ristorante and tasted through a number of Banfi wines with general manager Enrico Viglierchio and export manager Javier Rodriguez during a delicious lunch … I can tell you without a doubt that these wines are primarily food wines as today’s stand-alone tasting did not impress me as much – though the wines remain as impressive as ever, the food really bought out what they could do to enhance a meal.  On their own some wines showed better than others did last time.

We started with the Aurora Rose (bubbles) – still a great starter that needs no introduction, if you read my previous report.

One of the wines that stood up better today than five months ago was the 2008 La Lus Albarossa … back then I gave it four stars, today I raised it to four-plus.  This Nebbiolo/Barbera crossing is a wonderfully fruity wine that’s juicy and incredible tasty.  Red and black berries with nice spice and a red licorice finish … and the presentation (bottle-wise) is as elegant as the wine in bottle.  The good news is that come November 10, 2012 you (and I) will be able to put our hands on a few bottles as 300 cases will be making their way into the LCBO Vintages program.  At $23.95 this is a must purchase wine – at least three bottles worth … so make sure your local store is going to bring some in (#291575) - ****+.

Another wine that rocked my taste buds today was the Centine Rosso 2010 Toscana – a blend of Sangiovese (60%), Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (20% each) – this beauty just came to Vintages (September 1) and at $15.95 is one of the best Italian bargains: licorice, cassis, brambly-raspberry and dark berries all wrapped up in a very rustic Italian style wine yet also with a modern flair (****).

The Banfi Brunello di Montalcino: 2006 and 2007 were also tasted today – both received the same score they did from five months ago (3.5+) and (4+) respectively … nice to see I’m consistent.

The Poggio Alle Mura 2007 seems to have dropped almost a full point to 3.5+ … proving that this wine needs food to truly shine – and better glassware (which was the case at Bravi but not at today’s tasting, the vessel left something to be desired).

The Poggio All’Oro faired better, picking up a half point to settle in at 4-stars, this wine proved to be quite tasty – the leanest of the previous bottle was gone and now showed dried and fresh cherries, blackberry, cassis and a nice dry finish that wasn’t too tannic – chalk this one up to bottle variation.

Two other wines did not make the trip last tasting, so I was excited to try them today – both interesting IGT blends: the 2009 Excelsus (last time around was the stellar ’07) was full of fresh fruit – both red ad black – and lovely chocolate notes, it also had a juicy palate with a lovely silkiness across the tongue – all before the tannins kicked in on the finish (****+)

The final wine was the Cum Laude 2009, a blend that incorporates 4 varieties: Sangiovese (25%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), Merlot (30%) and 15% Syrah – this one was rich and flavourful with plum, cherry and blackberry on the nose; which followed through on the palate with more dark fruit and hints of cocoa added for good measure … and, of course, you can’t avoid the delicious finish (****+).

I still say that La Lus is a bargain for an as-yet unheralded grape (Albarossa) and the Cantine is a steal at $15.95 … keep your eyes peeled for the one (Nov. 10) and rush out now to get your hands on the other.

The three star selection -

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