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The Raccolta Newsletter 4/27/04


Craig Camp
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I was glad to see the Brunello win the big prize for Banfi instead of the double capital letter duo of ExcelsuS and SummuS or the good student of the group, Cum Laude. As good as these wines are, for me, their Brunello di Montalcino wines have always been the most impressive.

Click here for 1999 Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino

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Some people are not fans of Banfi because they find their wine very heavily oaked, the Brunello in particular. They're also quite a large outfit, so people like to take shots at them.

I tasted the '98 normale and wasn't thrilled with it (even though it was very young), but the '95 Poggio All'Oro, '97 Alle Mura, and '97 normale were all good (again, young).

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Hi Craig,

>> Whether you are a Banfi fan or hater,

Why would one be a hater?  Your tasting notes don't

imply anything negative.  Not over-oaked or over-

extracted.  So...?

Thanks,

Steve.

Banfi is a large corporation with a lot of money and power - that enough is enough for some people to hate them.

Castello Banfi has also taken a decidedly non-traditional approach in making Brunello and introducing new types and styles of wines to the Montalcino region. There are many wine drinkers think this has changed the style of this regions wines for the worse - they hate Banfi too.

My point was that even if you don't like their more modern style of wines you have to give them credit for making a positive impact on the entire region - even on traditional producers like Biondi Santi and Costanti.

As you can see by my making the 99 Banfi Brunello a Raccolta Selection I felt it was indeed an excellent wine - albeit in a modern style.

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I tasted the '98 normale and wasn't thrilled with it (even though it was very young), but the '95 Poggio All'Oro, '97 Alle Mura, and '97 normale were all good (again, young).

When I tasted the 98 I was not too impressed on the first day, but on the second liked it quite a bit. I wood say the 98 did not handle the oak as well as the more naturally fruity 99 vintage. By the way the 99 also showed more sangiovese character on the second day then on the first. The 99 is overall a much more complex wine than the 98 - just as you would expect.

It is my feeling with the Banfi Brunello wines is that they need to lose their "baby fat" with a few years of bottle age.

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It is my feeling with the Banfi Brunello wines is that they need to lose their "baby fat" with a few years of bottle age.

I'll agree with that. I'll likely pick up a bottle of the '99 while in Italy and wait on buying more until I get back to Canada. It will be readily available here.

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Ok. Since I've never seen any of the wines you guys are talking about, I've got to assume you are in the eastern half of the U.S.

Out here in California, we rarely see imports. I have to admit that I am completely lost when ya'll start talking imports. Some names I recognize, but others...

Does anyone in the bay area know of some shops that carry the imports? Some of our distributors carry them, but we've decided to focus our offerings on the products of California. Occassionally letting in an outstanding Oregon product.

Andy Szmidt

WineMiles.com - great wines! low prices!

The early bird may get the worm. But it is the second mouse that gets the cheese.

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Does anyone in the bay area know of some shops that carry the imports? Some of our distributors carry them, but we've decided to focus our offerings on the products of California. Occassionally letting in an outstanding Oregon product.

Premier Cru in Emeryville, K&L in San Francisco, The Wine Club in San Francisco. All have large import selections.

And if you can't find Banfi in the bay area, even at shops other than these, I'd be the most surprised I've been in a long time.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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