Castello Banfi Brunello
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A savory version, boasting tomato leaf, juniper and eucalyptus aromas and flavors, alongside cherry, plum and a touch of vanilla from the oak. Firm and chewy, with a long, resonant finish. Best from 2025 through 2043.
Round, fleshy and succulent, exuding black cherry, blackberry, violet and rosemary flavors. This has a glycerol feel, fine balance and harmony, with a long, fruity, savory and minerally aftertaste. Combines power and energy. Best from 2025 through 2043.
The 2018 Brunello di Montalcino Poggio alle Mura (with 51,200 bottles made) shows balance and ripeness with a good combination of cherry, wild plum, blue flower, tobacco and sweet earth. The outlier is the 15% alcohol content. The wine is generous in texture and scope, yet it ultimately feels light and accessible to the palate. The tannins are well managed, but the wine's ample fruit weight feels supple and rich.
Castello Banfi brings us this classic expression of the vintage. Their 2018 Brunello di Montalcino is hearty and dark with a level of distinguished power (with 15% alcohol) and sophistication that you only get with Brunello, a wine that by law ages for five years before its commercial release. Dark plum and blackcurrant segue seamlessly to spice, tar and black earth. The fruit ripeness is opulent and contrasted against elegant acidity and polished tannins. You don't need to wait long to enjoy.
Now in its proverbial third leaf (or the third vintage made), the Castello Banfi 2018 Brunello di Montalcino Vigna Marrucheto is a wine of rich concentration and dark fruit nuances. The bouquet is tight and powerful with all kinds of black cherry and wild currant aromas. The balance is good and so is the intensity of the primary fruit. Only the strong 15% alcohol content is out of place. This is a solid Brunello that will appeal to those who love the richer and more saturated side of Sangiovese. There is some sour cherry on the close, and the tannins would benefit from a few more years in the bottle.
Few producers had the yields (and the courage!) to make a Riserva in this hot and, generally speaking, difficult vintage. The Castello Banfi 2017 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Poggio alle Mura (that pours from a heavy glass bottle) show ripe fruit over an open-knit texture. There is blackberry, baked plum, leather, tobacco and earth offered in thick and soft layers. This is a full-bodied Sangiovese with lasting fruit weight and moderate complexity. The finer nuances are set aside by the powerful 15.5% alcohol content found in this production.
This has a pretty nose of dried roses, cocoa powder, red tea, hazelnut skins, cherries, plum stones and sandalwood. Full-bodied with very finely-knit tannins and zippy acidity. So much life and energy. Drink from 2023.
Cranberries, crushed raspberries, bark, tobacco leaf, hazelnuts and lemons on the nose. Expressive, fresh and savory on the palate, with bright acidity and tight, firm tannins. I like the tangy energy at the end. Try in 2024.
Lots of ripe and dried cherries with vanilla bean, cocoa and some dried herbs. Full-bodied with firm, chewy tannins. Dense and ripe but polished and well integrated. Better after 2024.
This is a savory and mineral expression with aromas of dried and sour cherries, bark, tomato leaf and iodine. Crushed stones and sea shells, too. Full body wtih firm, chewy tannins. Some austerity but focused and linear at the end. Needs some time to soften and open. Try after 2025.
This red is defined by the strawberry, cherry and floral aromas and flavors, graced by notes of tar, tobacco, eucalyptus and wild herbs. Firm and unforgiving on the finish for now, yet stays persistent and lively through the long aftertaste. Best from 2025 through 2042.
This brawny red is marked by leather, earth, plum and sanguine notes, with vibrant acidity keeping things focused and fresh. Muscular tannins underline everything, yet this is balanced and long. Best from 2025 through 2040.
Stunning, showing black cherry, blackberry, plum, leather, earth and iron aromas and flavors that work in tandem with the supple texture and dense structure. This has a good feel, between its level of ripe fruit and firm tannins, to age well. Excellent length. Best from 2026 through 2045.
Bright and elegant, evoking cherry, strawberry, floral, iron and spice aromas and flavors, with wild herbs peeking through on the finish. Shows a dense structure that bodes well for the future, and overall this feels balanced. Best from 2025 through 2043.
Subtle aromas of scorched earth, forest floor and mature berries mingle with a eucalyptus note. The full-bodied palate features cherry marinated in spirits, prune, roasted coffee bean and licorice framed in close-grained tannins. You'll also notice the warmth of alcohol on the close. While it reflects the heat of the vintage, it also shows polish and restraint. Kerin O’Keefe
This is poised and fresh considering the dryness and heat of the vintage. It’s full-bodied with integrated and firm tannins that are polished and very fine. Extremely well done. Drink after 2023 but already a beauty.
This is very tight and linear and long. It shows so much black truffle, dark cherry and wet earth character with some bark. Full-bodied yet tight and polished with firm tannins that persistently drive the length of the palate. Great aging potential here. Try after 2023.
Very perfumed and pure with cherry, cedar, tile and orange-peel undertones. Medium-bodied with firm tannins and a tangy finish. Needs time to open, but already delicious. Drink after 2022.
Perfumed with flowers, dark fruits and orange peel on the nose. Full-bodied with firm and integrated tannins that are chewy yet polished and focused. Turns muscular and toned at the end. Better after 2024.
Really fresh and vivid with sliced lemon and apple heading into cherry and floral undertones. It’s medium- to full-bodied with fine tannins and a vivid and bright finish. This is so drinkable and pretty for the hot and dry 2017 vintage, which produced many heavy Brunellos. Drink now or hold.
A fresh, typical rosso with sour cherries and hints of flowers and cedar. Medium body,fine tannins and a delicious finish. Drink now.
Very pretty blue fruits with crushed stone and bark as well as pine needle undertones. It’s medium- to full-bodied with firm and velvety tannins with a dusty texture. Very long and fresh with brightness and focus. Better after 2023 but already attractive and fresh for the vintage.
A fresh and flavorful 2017 with juicy berry, meat, spice and dark-chocolate aromas and flavors. Full and layered with firmness and freshness. Give it three or four years to slightly soften and come together.
Intense, with tension between the bright strawberry and cherry fruit flavors and the compact feel of the tannic structure. Wild herb, almond and earth accents add detail. There is a lot going on in this red, stretched tightly. Long finish. Best from 2024 through 2042.
Balsamic notes of pine, tobacco and Scotch broom gain the upper hand over the strawberry and cherry fruit in this red, at present. Tightly wound, an intense core of fruit persists through the mostly savory finish. Best from 2025 through 2045.
A rich, earthy style that offers plum, cherry, iron and cigar box flavors, with plenty of power. Broad in profile, ends with savory elements of forest floor and wild herbs. Best from 2023 through 2040.
This red combines strawberry and cherry flavors with underbrush notes. A rugged layer of tannins lays the base, while bitter almond and leafy underbrush accents emerge. A muscular version, tightly packed and closed now. Best from 2025 through 2045.
There’s a lot going on in this bone-dry yet complex red, whose cherry, strawberry and plum fruit meshes with iron, tobacco, wild thyme and Mediterranean pine flavors, while the dusty tannins exert their presence on the lingering finish. Think hearty stews or wild boar ragù. Best from 2025 through 2043.
Camphor, rose and new leather aromas form the nose along with a whiff of baking spice on this vibrant red. Polished and taut, the savory palate offers spiced cranberry, red cherry and star anise before finishing on a coffee note. Lithe, refined tannins and fresh acidity provide balanced support. Drink 2022–2028. Kerin O’Keefe
So opulent, plush and enticing with blackberry, blueberry, chocolate and walnut undertones. It’s full-bodied with balanced, refined and silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Tannic and juicy. Better after 2024.
Lots of plum and dark-berry character with citrus, cedar and sandalwood. Very pure Sangiovese. Full-bodied with firm, racy tannins and cool, vivid fruit at the finish. Some mineral, tar and steel undertones. Needs time to open and soften. Better than the 2015. Try after 2023.
Cool and perfumed 2016 Brunello with black cherries, flowers and crushed stones. Medium to full body with firm, chewy tannins, yet polished and very silky. Mineral and seaweed undertones. Just a hint of bitterness. Drink after 2023.
Mixed-cherry, floral and crushed-stone aromas. Full-bodied with firm tannins and a fresh finish. Linear and tight with a line of fine tannins that holds this all together. Iodine and mushroom notes come through. Try after 2023
A pretty, fruity red with plum, berry and light chocolate character. Medium to full body, round tannins and a delicious finish. Just how a Rosso di Montalcino should be. Drink now and enjoy.
A juicy, fruity red with some cooked fruit, yet it comes out fresh and vivid at the finish. Medium body. Drink now.
A red with spices, flowers, walnuts and cherries. It’s medium-bodied with light tannins and a savory finish. Hints of orange peel. Drink now.
Broad, featuring plum, black cherry and black currant flavors, with hints of licorice, leather and spice. A fruity style, backed by lively acidity and tannins. A red of great finesse, balance and length. Will benefit from aeration. Best from 2022 through 2038.
In an unusual twist of fate for 2015, the burly tannins cover the cherry and plum fruit, lending this a monolithic impression. The grip is not astringent, however, and this features ample fruit in the end. Finishes with a touch of heat, along with iron and tobacco accents. Best from 2023 through 2040.
Plenty of plums and cracked sea salt on the nose. Medium body, chewy tannins and a layered, fruity finish. Balanced and showing depth. Drink or hold.
Very pretty currant and cherry aromas with undertones of cream and vanilla. Full-bodied, tight and tannic. Yet, finely polished and textured. Drink after 2021.
Extremely complex aromas of cedar, mushroom and walnut highlighting the cherry and flowers. The palate is full and complete with ultra-fine and caressing tannins that are truly silky. It’s still very young, but shows beauty and seduction. Try after 2020.
Top 100 Wines of Italy 2019
This is rich, maintaining a sense of elegance and vibrancy. Cherry, plum, leather, tobacco, iron and earth flavors mingle, backed by a solid structure. Finishes long and satisfying. Best from 2021 through 2035.
Plenty of plums and cracked sea salt on the nose. Medium body, chewy tannins and a layered, fruity finish. Balanced and showing depth. Drink or hold.
Lots of dried bark, cinnamon stick, forest floor and earth add to an impression of dried cherries and sandalwood. But there are also hints of caramelized oranges and preserved lemons. The attack on the palate takes immediate effect; the powerful tannins pucker the edges of the mouth with imposing depth, but equally fascinating detail. This is a robust, take-no-hostages style of Brunello with a modern twist of finesse and tension. Drink from 2025.
So many spices line the nose here including cinnamon, cardamom, aniseed and walnuts. But there’s no shortage of red plums and dried cherries either. Balanced and suave, this is a sophisticated Brunello with a sleek frame of tannins and subtle yet persistent acidity. Drink from 2021.
Lots of black-cherry, violet, and lavender aromas that follow through to a full body, with chewy and dusty tannins and a sweet, leather, tobacco and berry aftertaste. A pretty for red. Drink or hold.
Beautiful and complex on the nose with chanterelle mushrooms and plums and cedar undertones. Medium to full body, very fine tannins and a long and juicy finish. All in richness and finesse. Well crafted. Drink now.
Shows a delightful combination between pretty blue fruit, bark and resin on the nose. The palate is well defined with round tannins, a welcome streak of acidity and plenty of fruit. Drink now.
Lots of elderberry compote and redcurrant reduction, as well as freshly squeezed lemons. Medium body, medium tannins and a very fruity finish. Drink now.
This is all smooth edges, with cherry flavors and a note of licorice. The tannins are refined and the finish conjures up hints of leather and tobacco.
Firmly structured and tensile, leaving room for the cherry, leather, underbrush and mineral flavors. Packs a lot into a slim frame, with a lingering finish.
Cherry and plum flavors highlight this well-structured red, along with notes of leather, earth and wild herbs. Firms up as the dense tannins come into play on the finish. Best from 2022 through 2037. 48,350 cases made. –BS Issue Jun 30, 2018
Underbrush, pipe tobacco, leather, scorched earth and dark culinary-spice aromas meld together in this full-bodied red. The savory, structured palate delivers baked plum, juicy black cherry, vanilla and star anise framed in fine-grained tannins. Drink 2020–2032.
Forest floor, grilled herb and pipe-tobacco aromas lead the way on this firmly structured wine. The full-bodied palate offers dried cherry, steeped prune, orange zest and licorice set against tightly knit close-grained tannins. Drink 2022–2032.
Aromas of ripe plum, blue flower and a whiff of baking spice unfold in the glass. The vibrant elegant palate offers dried Marasca cherry, cranberry, star anise and a hint of toast while fine-grained tannins and fresh acidity provide support. Drink 2021–2028.
Forest floor, wild berry, coffee and toasted oak aromas come together on this. The medium-bodied palate is on the lean side, offering sour cherry, tobacco leaf, espresso and a saline note alongside lithe tannins. Drink 2020–2028.
An attractive red with dried cherry, chocolate and light tile. Medium body with a solid core of fruit and a fine tannins texture. Drink now.
Publish Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Intense aromas of blackberry and black truffle follow through to a full body, firm and silky tannins and a gorgeous finish. Plenty of dried cherry to close. A pretty and focused red that needs two or three years to soften.
Publish Date: Monday, November 27, 2017
This really explodes with ripe fruit such as dried strawberries and cranberries as well as leather and tobacco. Full body with lots of round tannins but fresh acidity and a long, remarkably savory finish. Drink now or hold. Publish Date: Friday, March 2, 2018.
A dense, burly style, displaying cherry, iron, leather, earth, tobacco and spice flavors. Unyielding and compact now, yet also complex and long. Best from 2022 through 2035. 250 cases imported.
A textbook Brunello, mingling cherry and berry fruit with bitter almond, iron, sanguine and tobacco notes. Well-structured and harmonious, this should rein in the tannins with a few years of aging. Best from 2020 through 2033. 8,000 cases imported.
Plummy aromas mix in the glass with whiffs of pressed blue flower, vanilla and mocha. The taut structured palate offers dried black cherry, coconut, licorice, espresso and black pepper while firm fine-grained tannins provide the framework. A note of pipe tobacco closes the tight finish. Give it a few more years to unwind and fully develop. Drink 2020–2027.
Aromas suggesting ripe plum, exotic spice, blue flower and a whiff of pipe tobacco take shape in the glass. The full-bodied palate doles out ripe black cherry, raspberry, vanilla and a hint of star anise while velvety tannins give it a polished feel. An espresso note signals the close. Drink 2018–2026.
A sleek and pretty red with plum and light chocolate character plus hints of walnuts. Medium to full body and fine tannins. Shows the ripe balance of the 2012 vintage for Brunello. Drink or hold.
Very ripe and dense with lots of dried-fruit, spice and cedar character. Some cigar box, too. Full-bodied, velvety and rich. Powerful. Give it two to three years of bottle age.
“This is very tannic and powerful with blueberries, blackberries and milk chocolate. Full body, firm tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Shows length and power. A wine for decades ahead. Greatest Banfi red ever. Better in 2018.”
Big, ripe black cherry and plum flavors are backed by dusty tannins in this rustic red, which displays power, with the vibrant acidity lending a touch of finesse. Tobacco, leather and iron notes add depth on the finish.
Cherry, leather, tar and milk chocolate flavors mingle in this big, chunky red. Balanced toward the tannic side, with a long aftertaste of spice, earth and chocolate.
A riserva with so much structure and tension. A full body that shows dried fruit and mushroom flavors. Walnut soil, too. So long and powerful. A glorious wine. Wine for the long term. Drink in 2017.
Clear and perfumed with fresh red fruits with flowers, mineral on nose. Hint of leather with brown chocolate cake with fine tannin. This is medium-bodied red is savory, round with an elegant finish. Silky texture. Drink now or better in 2016.
A bright red with raspberry, red berry and stone aromas and flavors. Medium body, light tannins and a fruity, crisp finish. Racy Rosso di Montalcino. Drink now.
Fresh berries with mineral, hint of tar on nose. Young tannins with coffee beans, woody character but gorgeous density. It’s a baby Brunello. Better in 2015.
Very perfumed with roses and black cherries. Medium body, a solid core of fruit and silky tannins. Fine rosso. Drink now.
There’s a linear purity to this red with dried chocolate, plum and peach aromas and flavors. Medium to full body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. Drink now.
Aromas of eucalyptus, baked plum, leather and licorice complement the chocolate, leather and tar flavors. On the savory side, with dusty tannins finishing balanced and long. Best from 2016 through 2028. –BS Wine Spectator Online
Fabulous aromas of dried rose petal, orange peel, and oyster shell with hints of dark fruits. Full body, very fine tannins with a mineral, berry and orange peel undertone. Real Tuscan dust undertone. A structured and salty and savory finish. Better in 2017.
Round and savory, this medium-bodied Rosso opens with aromas that recall underbrush, tobacco leaf, and cooking spices. The dense palate doles out rich black fruit accented with cinnamon, clove and licorice alongside supple tannins. -K.O. (November 2014)
Dried strawberry and cherry aromas follow through to a medium body with integrated tannins and a fresh finish. Better in 2014. – James Suckling (9/2013)