(2022) It's from Tuscany, it's Sangiovese, and it's... white. Very unusual, the Sangiovese was picked early and vinified without the grape skins for a crisp, 12.5% alcohol white wine. There may just be the faintest blush to the colour, then aromatics of orange blossom and citrus, a little creaminess, are bright and attractive. In the mouth there is real zest and vivacious personality here, peach and zesty lime flood the palate, with bold texture and plenty of fruit concentration. It zips along nicely thanks to good acids, maybe Pinot Gris being the closest comparison I can think of for this interesting wine - the choice of winemaker Sofia Barbanera.
(2021) So if you thought it remarkable that a 10-year-old wine was on offer, how about an 18-year-old super-Tuscan for less than £20? From a biodynamic estate owned and run by Château Giscours of Margaux, it's a blend of Sangiovese with Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Once again there's a mellow maturity to the colour, and the nose doesn't offer much other than a hint of truffle, olive and sweet damp earth, maybe a little cedar in there too. On the palate it is a different matter: I very much enjoyed its deep-set, rich fruitcake character, beautifully integrated oak and palate riven with a cherry-ripe acidity and taut tannin structure. It drinks really well, finishing on tobacco spice, coffee and black fruit, and is a bit of steal for a mature wine of such quality. Drink over the next couple of years.
(2021) A Chianti Classico that is made from hand-harvested Sangiovese, 30% of which is aged in barriques, the rest in large oak casks for 18 months. Solid, sweet plum flesh and cherry on the nose, a nice touch of background tobacco spice, a little lick of vanilla too. In the mouth the fruit is sweet and ripe, more cherry and blackcurrant, but savoury and firm. Some dried blood and gravelly character gives grip. Quite dry tannins here, a touch rustic and it's bright edge of acidity makes this savoury, quite chewy, but satisfying. No UK stockist at time of review.
(2021) The name of this wine translates to 'Stony Hill', the grapes coming from the rockiest slopes on the Banfi estate in Tuscany. Currants and fresh red berries on the nose, little oak influence if any, just a touch of dusty green olive from the Cabernet component. Plenty of cherry-ripe sweetness on the palate, blackberries too, combining some fruit depth with fresher, lightly herbal notes. Plenty of creamy sweetness here with a sour tang of orange to the acidity.
(2021) Surprisingly developed in colour, this is 100% Sangiovese, and offers warming scents of brick, autumnal drying leaves and bramble fruit along with some spices. The palate is gentle and unruffled, good mature fruit and unobtrusive tannins. Acidity is cherryish and balances nicely.
(2021) Though Banfi is headquartered in Montalcino, the Vermentino grapes for this wine come from more coastal vineyards in the Maremma region of Tuscany. It's a delicate, perfumed style of crisp white wine, notes of talcum and peach down, a touch of elderflower in the background. In the mouth it has that combination that many Italian whites from the centre of the country share (Verdicchio, Vernaccia), of intensity and subtley. There is plenty of stony mineral salts acidity but gentle and clean citrus fruit, just a hint of that peachier quality on the mid-palate. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2021) A little bit nutty, fragrant, a slightly lighter, tobacco-infused lift to this. Very much more medium-bodied that the fuller wines before it in this line-up, a certain dustiness and Old World character, savoury, a touch of leather and tobacco and the fruit is good but noticeably less sweet, edged with cedar and more prominent acidity.
(2021) Morellino di Scansano is an appellation towards the coast of Tuscany, making wines from the great grape of the region, Sangiovese. This oak-aged example has rich berry fruit on the nose, quite a subtle sheen of vanilla which is attractive, and hints of the cherry fragrance so often found in Sangiovese. In the mouth this is medium-bodied, with a creamy but elegant weight of fruit, smoothed and rounded tannins and good balancing acidity. Highly drinkable this.
(2021) A blend of 50% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, 2005 was generally a very good year, though careful harvesting was necessary in autumn showers. The different parcels and varieties resulted in 54 separate vinifications of base wine components. The wines were matured for 12 months in barriques (25% new barrels), then blended, and returned to barrel for a futher five months. It still exhibits a deep colour, quite opaque at the core. The nose presents a lovely amalgam of plum and glossy black cherry, gamey and balsamic notes, and a hint of woodsmoke wreathed through it. Classic pencil shaving and graphite touches too. In the mouth, beautiful and expansive sweetness, a rich, creamy weight of fruit that is glossy and ripe, then terrific support pushes through, with chocolaty tannins, as fine as you like, fine acidity, and the wine runs on and on into the finish. Not currently available retail in the UK, but may appear at auction.
(2021) In 2013 the blend was slightly dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon with 36%, then 32% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 12% Petit Verdot, and it was a late harvest with a cool spring and autumn delaying growth. It is eight years younger than the 2005 of course, but seems to be a of much firmer character generally (possibly because of the upped Cabernet content), with firm black fruit on the nose and a savoury, liquorice bite to the acidity and fruit on the palate, tart berry skins giving grip and energy, a fine, long and flowing finish, though that slightly more austere edge is always there.