On April 30th, I had the pleasure of attending the Banville & Jones Portfolio tasting in Manhattan.  Banville is a small importer of select wines and the tasting was nothing short of amazing.  Many of the wineries were represented by principals or winemakers who were eager to answer questions and share their wine. As with my other Trade Tastings, due to the nature of the event my scores are provided in ranges with more general impressions of the wines.

~ The Venue Prior to the Start of the Tasting ~

Michele Satta

Before the tasting officially began,  my friend Sally Congleton ushered me quickly to see Michele Satta.  It’s hard to believe how long this affable gentlemen has been making wine given his youthful appearance. Satta cut his teeth working for Ornellaia, specifically managing the Masseto vineyard, so his skills could not have been honed any better. His wines show polish, elegance and refinement and each was delicious.  He spoke at length about the need to understand Bolgheri and how many different terroir there are within the region. The altitude, distance inland from the sea, the protection or exposure to the wind, all plays an important role in determining which varietals to plant, where to plant them, at what altitude and when to harvest. Michele presented his wines one at a time and is now grooming his son to be the next generation to carry on the family winery.  He will have a while to wait for Satta is a youthful 56.

2009 Piastraia

The 2009 Piastraia is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah and Sangiovese of unspecified proportions. Michele told me that the 2009 had a higher than usual content of Merlot. The wine is inky purple and shows the power and ripeness of the vintage.  There’s a solid core of black fruits and spices on the nose and palate. This is ripe and juicy. There’s a wonderful dried, leafy tobacco quality to this wine that I love. 91-93 points.  About $45.
Piastraia is a Bolgheri DOC blend of Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah, & Sangiovese

2006 Cavaliere
Cavaliere is Satta’s prized wine.  He beams about it with pride when discussing it.  He personally selected the best vines for this wine, knowing that a pure Sangiovese is rare in Bolgheri.  In fact, that was a distinction I made when I commented about the wine not being labelled “Bolgheri DOC”.   By law, wines carrying that designation cannot be 100% Sangiovese. So we are left with a humble IGT.  Cavaliere is delicious; in fact, incredibly so.  It’s got a deep ruby color with aromas of ripe, deep red fruits, tobacco and sage. On the palate the wine is racy and refined. Polished, with excellent structure and persistence to the cherry fruit, herbs and pipe tobacco. Structured for aging.  92-94 points.
2006 I Castagni
“The Chestnuts” – a wine aptly named, as Satta explained, by the vast grove of chestnut trees that surround this vineyard.  I was surprised to learn that although Satta cares for the trees, he does not use the nuts for anything.  Yes, he says, we eat some of them – but most are turned over into the ground.  This wine is 70% Cabernet, 20% Sangiovese, and 10% Teroldego. Extensive green harvesting is carried out to insure even ripening of the remaining fruit.  The results show in the wine which is a blackish red. There are ample black fruit, plum and mint aromas, but the smokiness of the Syrah adds additional complexity the nose and palate. I asked Satta what he thought the Teroldego contributed to the blend besides color.  He told me in one word “power”.  It provides an extra dimension to the backbone of the Cabernet.  It is a full bodied and tannic wine with structure typical of the vintage.  Cellar worthy.  92-94 points. 
Cavaliere (L) and I Castagni (R)

Ever the gentleman:  Michele Satta

Donnatella Cinelli Colombini

The story here is one of the more interesting tales from Italy in my recent memory. This winery, the result of a family split at Fattoria Barbi, saw Donnatella Colombini “fly away” from the family to create Brunello in her own style. This desire is portrayed on her labels by the ubiquitous white dove.  Indeed, the wines are a blend of tradition and modernity. But there is an added twist.  Every single employee who works the estate is a women.  The charming Violante Gardini, Donatella’s daughter, proudly presented the wines. 
2009 Rosso di Montalcino
Deep ruby in color,  this Rosso is very nice, but falls a bit short compared to some of the others I’ve had from the 2009 vintage.  It’s medium bodied with a solid core of berry fruit framed by spice and herbs.  Aromatically similar to the palate, there is an added touch of espresso that is very attractive.  I’d like a little more fruit here though given the vintage.  88-90 points. 
2007 Brunello di Montalcino
From two small vineyards of barely 13 hectares, this Brunello is aged in a combination of barrique and larger tonneaux for almost 3 1/2 years prior to release.  The color is as vibrant as the aromas.  Deep cherry, spice, anise and earth are present on the nose and palate.  Silky, very approachable even given the vintage, there are cake spices on the finish that linger nicely. A delicious 2007, but clearly in an approachable style.  Drink now and enjoy the wonderful fruit.  90-92 points.
2007 Brunello “Progetto Prime Donne”
Despite the production of a separate Riserva,  Violante explained that this is the estate’s flagship wine.  A “council” of four women, including a British Master of Wine, meet twice a year to discuss and forge the direction of this wine.  It is the “Womens first project”.   Gorgeous wine here.  Loads of structure for a 2007 – maybe the most structured Brunello from the vintage I’ve had.  Deep ruby color with a substantial core of berry fruit with tobacco, herb and earth character for flavors and aromas.  Full bodied and tannic with a sweet, ripe acid finish.  This is delicious wine.  I love it.  93-95 points.
2006 Brunello Riserva
Prime Donne may be the estate’s flagship, but it’s hard to imagine after tasting this powerful, yet elegant Riserva.  Carlo Ferrini consults on this wine which begins it’s aging process in barrique, but gets racked into larger and larger barrels as it ages. I jokingly pointed out to Violante that Carlo Ferrini was not a woman.  She laughed and said “he consults from afar”.  This Riserva shows all the classic traits of wonderful Sangiovese.  It’s full bodied with a large core of ripe, dusty, earthy, red fruit framed by spice, anise, and warm clay.  Complex and harmonious but massively tannic and in need of some cellaring to flesh out even more complexity.  Hard to go wrong laying this away.  93-95 points.
Overall, a beautiful showing by this winery and one to certainly watch for.  I will especially look for the Prime Donne from a more structured vintage. I easily suspect that could be a memorable Brunello.
Fabulous line up of wines from Donnatella Cinelli Colombini

Giacomo Grimaldi

Founded in 1930 by his grandfather Giacomo,  this estate is now in the capable hands of Ferruccio Grimaldi.  Despite speaking barely any English,  Ferruccio was a charming host.  Lia Tolaini’s lovely daughter acted as translator when my Italian wasn’t strong enough to meet Ferruccio half way.   This was my first time trying the wines from this estate and let me just say, man have I been missing out!  Each one of these wines was seemingly better than the next.  Under Ferruccio’s direction, the production of the estate has increased, but is still a relatively small 10 hectares.  Of those, 6 are dedicated to Barolo and the Nebbiolo is sourced from Barolo, Novello and Monforte.  Ferruccio is known as a perfectionist in caring for his vineyards.  He is personally on patrol, insisting upon maximum green harvesting to ensure perfectly ripened grapes and better overall quality.  He joked that he also gets “family tips” – for his Father in Law is none other than Enrico Scavino.  Still, I can’t imagine Ferruccio needing much help.  These wines were a revelation for me and I am firmly on the look out for them. 
2011 Dolcetto d’Alba
From the moment I tasted this wine, I knew I was in for a treat.  Over the past few months, I’ve had many 2011 Dolcetto, all of which have been reviewed here.  This one is, by far, the best I’ve had.  It’s absolutely delicious.  It’s everything you want from a Dolcetto and damn near a perfect example of the varietal.  It’s inky purple. It’s fresh, vibrant and completely crafted in stainless steel.  The aromas are redolent of violets, intense berry, smoke, vanilla and lavender.  A joy to smell.  On the palate the sexy berry fruit is velvety with a supple texture.  Accented by smokey notes, slight vanilla, and an amazing juicy texture. This is singing.  I’d buy it by the case.  Just may be the best Dolcetto I’ve ever tasted.  95-97 points. 

The Stunning 2011 Dolcetto d’Alba from G. Grimaldi
2011 Barbera d’Alba “Pistin”
This vineyard has south-southwest exposure and sees plenty of sun.  The resulting wine portrays this aspect well as the ripeness of the fruit balanced the natural acidity of the Barbera grapes very well.  Fermented in 100% stainless steel, and then aged 9 additional months in steel before bottling,  this Barbera is young and vibrant with fresh fruit flavors of black cherry that are accented softly by fresh herbs.  Fairly straightforward,  but delicious nonetheless.  87-89 points.
2007 Barbera d’Alba “Fornaci”
At first blush, I just assumed this wine was also a 2011.  I was tasting it a good couple of minutes before I realized the wine was already 6 years old.  Amazing purity of flavor for a Barbera of this age.  Unlike the Pistin,  this wine is aged in barrique after fermenting in vertical rotofermenters.  Malolactic occurs in barrique and the wine is aged for 18 months in 70% new and 30%  2nd and 3rd passage barrique.  The resulting wine exhibits more complexity than it’s sibling as a result and was more interesting to taste.  The deep ruby black color gives way to red fruit aromas with notes of spice, herbs, and tobacco.  There’s some sweet oak spice on the palate but it does not dominate; it accents the fruit beautifully. This is delicious and made in smaller quantity than Pistin; 3,500 bottles compared to Pistin’s 10,000.  What’s more, this wine hasn’t even begun to enter any kind of secondary aging stage. It’s vibrant, fresh and delicious.  90-92 points.

Pair of Barbera from Grimaldi
It was then on to the Baroli……..
2008 Barolo
Although not tasted in time to be included in my 2008 Barolo Tasting Report, this wine was another delicious example of the vintage.  After being fermented in barrique, the wine is then aged 50% in barrique and 50% in large cask. Once blended, the wine sits in large stainless steel tanks for 8 months before bottling.  Pretty ruby color with dark garnet reflections. The wood treatment of this wine is balanced so well.  As Ferruccio pointed out, it’s “balance before barrique” when he crafts his wines.  We discussed the usage of various size casks when it comes to treating Nebbiolo and he was adamant that the fruit must be in the forefront.  That he, like Scavino, will always seek to accent his wines and never dominate them with wood.  He succeeded with this wine.  The aromas are classico barolo.  Deep red cherry is accented by spice, mocha, earth, anise and fennel.  On the palate the wine is ripe, richly concentrated – with vibrant red cherry flavors that add licorice, herbs and mushrooms.  Good length and persistence.  Very fine indeed.  91-93 points. 
2007 Barolo “Sotto di Castello”
From the Sotto di Castello vineyard in Novello comes this delicious Barolo.  Aged in completely in barrique for 2 years, 60% of which are new and the balance 2nd and 3rd passage, this Barolo is the most modern of the triumvirate. Dark red in color with aromas of cherry, coffee and sage – this isn’t going to be the purists cup of tea.  That being said,  the quality is undeniable.  The palate is rich and polished – lavishly oaked – the presence of the mocha and toast are evident behind the dried herb and fruit driven character of the wine.  My least favorite of the three.  90-92 points
2007 Barolo “Le Coste”
There was a little bit of confusion between this “Le Coste” and the Parusso bottling “Le Coste – Mosconi”.   I was trying to determine if the vineyard source was the same. Some Mosconi’s I’ve had have been outstanding.  After some back and forth, we determined that the vineyard is not the same.  However, the style of the wine is big, powerful and muscular, ala Monforte.  This Barolo is blackish red with aromas of red and black cherry, smoked meat, anise and spice. Although given the same aging regimen as the Sotto di Castello, this wine isn’t showing nearly the oak character that the former displays.  On the palate, the wine is full bodied, juicy-ripe and very long.  A laser of pure berry fruit seems surrounded by dusty licorice and earth notes.  This is masculine, with lots of structure and will easily age 10+ years.  Wonderful.  93-95 points. 

The Giacomo Grimaldi Barolo Trio

After tasting Grimaldi,  I pivoted 90 degrees to his neighboring table, Paolo Scavino, where principal Riccardo Sgarra was representing the winery.

Paolo Scavino

Tasting these wines was a pure privilege.   I was able to sample each Barolo produced by this legendary winemaker and in addition to the wines reported on as part of my 2008 Barolo Report, a few cellar gems were also poured by Riccardo.

The display table at Scavino.  If only I’d had a backpack!

2008 Barolo

This is Scavino’s “classic” Barolo, blended from various Scavino vineyard holdings. There is nothing “entry level” about this wine. Dark ruby red in color, this Barolo exudes stature. Lovely floral, spice, cherry and rosemary aromas combine to form a delicately woven bouquet. On the palate, the wine is juicy and full bodied, with a solid core of cherry fruit framed with spices, leather and earth. True to its roots this is a delicious wine that will age effortlessly for a decade or more.  91-93 points.
2008 Barolo “Bricco Ambrogio”
Riccardo explained that along with it’s “sister”, Monvigliero, this is one of Scavino’s more feminine Barolo.  Pretty, delicate aromas abound: freshly picked flowers, dried herbs, lavender and red fruits are gorgeous. Very refined on the palate.  Graceful.  Silky, with wonderful precision. Intense cherry flavors are framed by spice, lavender and licorice.  92-94 points.

2008 Barolo “Monvigliero”

Riccardo called this the sister wine to the “Bricco Ambrogio” and opined that if  Monvigliero is the Queen then Ambrogio is the King.  Still, both wines are elegant and very feminine. Delicately powerful, is how Riccardo described the wines.  In the glass, it’s a dark ruby with violet reflections. The aromas are very perfumed. Flowers, berries and tobacco combine harmoniously.  There’s an intense laser of cherry fruit that rides on a road of chalk and minerals. So dusty, so fine. I like this slightly better than the Ambrogio simply for it’s tactile sensations.  93-95 points.

2008 Barolo “Cannubi”

A Cru that needs no introduction.  This wine flexes muscles the others don’t have. It’s a dark purple-red in the glass and the nose is very complex.  Cherries, flowers, spices and mushrooms are woven together wonderfully. On the palate, the heft of this vineyard is prominently displayed with the crushed red berries, cigar tobacco, dried herbs and fennel taking center stage.  It needs cellaring, but this one is where it’s at for me.  Amazing stuff.  94-96 points.
Brawn & Power is Cannubi

2008 Barolo “Carobric”

Riccardo explained that this wine is a blend of three vineyards that come together not only to form the wine; but to create the acronym that is it’s name: Cannubi – Rocche – Bric del Fiasc.  The tannic structure to the wine is moderated well and the fruit comes to the fore on the nose and palate. Cherries, spice, dusty minerals and flowers are very pretty indeed.  This wine is more delicate than I suspected, but it’s delicious.  90-92 points.

2008 Barolo “Bric del Fiasc”

Riccardo told me that this was Scavino’s most muscular, masculine Barolo. I asked him where it fit in with Cannubi and he said: “Bric del Fiasc is the King, Cannubi is the Queen.” The Bric del Fiasc is indeed powerful. A brawny behemoth of a Nebbiolo that requires decanting or cellar time or both.  There’s a huge core of red berry fruit with notes of mineral and flowers on the nose and palate. The structure of the wine is significant and there’s plenty of development lurking underneath. There’s pretty fennel notes on the finish.  94-96 points.

2000 Barolo “Carobric”

With the current release wines behind us, Riccardo began pouring a few mature wines to give the tasters an idea of what may be around the corner for some of these Barolo.  The 2000 Carobric is maturing wonderfully. After 10+ years, the tannins present in the 2008 have melted away significantly in this vintage.  Deep cherry flavors are laced with earth, flowers, tobacco and spice. It appears much more masculine than it’s younger sibling would suggest.  Ripe sweet fruit make for a long lingering finish. With plenty of life ahead, you can enjoy this now or continue to cellar it.  92-95 points.
2000 Carobric by Paolo Scavino

2005 Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata Riserva
It’s hard to imagine a Barolo eclipsing the other wines in Scavino’s stable, but it’s equally hard to imagine someone denying the stupendous nature of this ethereal nectar.  Riccardo was pouring this from decanter.  It had been open a few hours in advance of my tasting. This wine has it all.  Power. Elegance. Refinement. Complexity. Persistence. Purity. Precision. Everything about it is a notch above.  The fruit is richer, the complexities easier to spot.  The finish longer. Rich cherry and berry flavors are accented with a myriad of tones: earth, tar, roses, anise, fennel, sage, mushroom and leaves.  Flavors follow the nose and are full bodied with a silky, dusty mouthfeel.  This may be a lifetime great experience as the wine ages further.  It still has tannins to shed.  Aged one year in barrique, 2 years in botti grande and 2 years in bottle prior to release.  95-99 points.
Masterful Barolo from 70+ year old vines


Ferrucio Lamborghini came back to his humble Umbrian farming roots after retiring from his luxury automobile company.  He hired Riccardo Cotarella as his winemaker and purchased land south of Lake Trasimeno very near the border with Tuscany and only a few kilometers from Cortona.  His charming wife presented the wines.
2007 Torami
This is the newest wine in the Lamborghini stable having first been produced in 2003.  Torami is 100% Montepulciano that is stainless steel fermented and then aged for up to 10 months in French barrique.  Prior to release, the wine is aged an additional 6 months in bottle.  A pretty violet color, there are ample aromas of black fruits, with spice and mineral character. On the palate the wine is medium bodied, with nice structure and good length. Reminds me of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.  A good wine that can be used as a rosso della casa.  86-88 points.
2006 Campoleone
Campoleone is the estate’s flagship.  A blend of 50% Sangiovese and 50% Merlot, the wine is a perennial Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri.  Vinified separately, fermented and aged in French barrique, the varietals aren’t blended until the very end of the process.  Subsequently, they spend 6 months in bottle prior to release. 
I’ve had Campoleone many times in the past and have always loved the marriage of Sangiovese and Merlot.  It’s a racy red with a pretty purple color.  The wine may need some additional cellaring to settle.  I found the 2006 to be slightly disjointed with flavors and aromas of dark fruits with herbs, leather and earth.  It was more “funky” than I recollect from past vintages.  Give it some time in bottle.  I’m betting on the vineyard and the winemaker here.  90-92 points.
Lamborghini:  Torami and Campoleone


We’re very familiar with Tolaini’s wines here at TuscanVines,  but to borrow from a great movie: “If you pour it, we will taste”.   Tolaini is continually pushing for more and more quality to the grapes that ultimately end up in their wine.  Not one, but two green harvests ensure that the vineyards generate only the best raw materials for winemaker Diego Bonato and Consultant Michel Rolland to craft into fine Tuscan reds. 
2008 Al Passo
Al Passo is 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot.  I’ve reported on this wine many times before in both the 2007 and 2008 vintages and it continues to be delicious and represent excellent value.   The name comes from the “pass” in the forest at the highest point of the Montebello vineyard.  The 2008 displays a pretty violet color and aromas of forest floor, earth, cherry and spices carry through on the palate.  While not as rich as the 2007, it is seemingly more lively. Brighter. A delicious marriage of the varietals this is very affordable.  89-91 points.
2008 Valdisanti
A blend of 75% Cabernet, 5% Cab. Franc and 20% Sangiovese, Valdisanti comes from the Montebello and San Giovanni vineyards on the estate. Whole berry fermentation takes place in both French oak and stainless steel before the wine is aged for 16 months in barrique.  (70% new)  Again, this isn’t as rich or opulent as the 2009 tasted at Gambero Rosso, but this is a full bodied Cabernet with aromas and flavors of cassis, mint, black fruit and french oak spice.  Has the structure to age over the next 10 years, but the 2009 is a better bet for aging beyond that.  Very well done in the tougher vintage. 90-92 points.
2008 Picconero
This is the Tolaini’s flagship, garnering the best grapes from the estate.  Green harvesting and strict selection take place before Picconero is fermented as whole berries in French oak.  The resulting wine is aged in barrique for 18 months and then in bottle an additional 12 before release. Merlot centric, the 2008 is a blend of 65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet and 5% Petit Verdot.  Black in the glass.  Wonderful aromas of mint, black fruits, licorice, spice and earth.  Flavors follow the nose with class, persistence and elegance. This is huge. Almost as big as the 2009, which is a Gambero Rosso Tre Bicchieri.  Delicious and velvety now, but certainly will improve with cellaring.  93-95 points.
The Tolaini Triumvirate


The name of this whimsical winery derives from the ancient Greek word for yeast.  Zyme was founded in 2003 in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico zone. Winemaker and owner Celestino Gaspari has some unique experience behind him. Before becoming his son in law, Gaspari worked 11 harvests with the legendary Giuseppe Quintarelli.  He learned every facet he could during those 11 years and after becoming a respected vigneron consultant, set out on his own project.  The wines are admittedly avant garde, very rich and boisterous and at times, verging on over the top.  This is Celestino’s personality and as I tasted his wines,  I don’t think he stopped smiling and laughing the entire time.  The Veneto version of Giampaolo Tabarrini!  He is a young, up and coming winemaker to keep your eye on!  And so it goes….
2006 Harlequin
As intriguing as it is unique.  Harlequin is comprised from no less than 15 different grape varieties, 11 red and 4 white.  The blends vary widely from vintage to vintage.  Dense ruby to purple in color with rich aromas of black fruits, figs, spice, savor herbs and oriental spices.  Long and rich on the palate, this 15% alc. comes off as a bruiser with rich, jammy fruit and all sorts of tertiary flavors that leave the taster grappling for a descriptor.  This is bone dry and not overdone but it needs a hearty osso bucco for sure.  92-94 points.
15 Different Grapes Comprise “Harlequin”
2006 Kairos
You don’t have enough fingers to count the grapes in this wine.  No less than 17! varietals combine to form Kairos – with three being white.  I have the listing on my Tech-Sheets, but I’m not going to include them here because the percentages aren’t specified.  Deep purple in the glass with long viscous legs.  Wild berries, blackberry preserves, clove, spice and cocoa are redolent on the nose. Flavors follow the aromas and add licorice and fennel.  The acidity and balance are there to provide freshness to this full bodied red. Don’t let the whimsical nature of the label or blend fool you.  This is serious wine and to me, the most broadly food friendly of all the Zyme wines tasted.  I really enjoyed it and it was a hit with many of the tasters present.  91-93 points.
2006 Amarone Classico
A mere 5 varietals used here in this traditional blend.  The 2006 is 30% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 30% Rondinella, 5% Croatina and 5% Oseleta.  The vines are up to 70 years of age.  In the glass the wine is a deep blackish red with huge, inky legs.  The richness of the fruit is evident. Aromas of Christmas cake, bourbon, plum and black cherry combine nicely and carry over to the nose.  Despite almost 16% alc.  this is balanced but clearly a wine for nuts, aged/funky cheese with a side of fireplace.  92-94 points.
Zyme Amarone at Left.  Kairos at Right.

As I thanked him for the eye opening tasting and was about to move on,  Celestino grabs me on the arm laughing and says, “You can’t go yet. You haven’t tasted the Big Daddy!”   I could not possibly fathom what wine might reach the level of “Big Daddy-ness”  but for certain, I found out. 
2001 Amarone Classico Riserva
Ridiculous concentration.  A bottle almost the size of a magnum but claiming to be 750ml.  This is a blend of  40% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 15% Rondinella, 5% Croatina and 10% Oseleta.  So the main difference from the Amarone being that the Rondinella is cut in half and the prior two varietals beefed up.  It’s black.  It’s a mammoth wine filled with aromas of blackberry preserve, dried plums, black cherry, figs, spices, cloves, fruit cake and brandy.  It’s gargantuan on the palate with teeth staining richness to the fruit. 16% alc. from 50+ year old vines.  This has Quintarelli all over it. Fans of his will go nuts for this wine.  And again, that’s what you need here:  Nuts, Gorgonzola (which was on hand to taste) and even dried fruit or bitter chocolate would work.  I’d serve this with cheese in place of dessert.  93-95 points. 
Amarone Riserva 2001
Sally Congleton of Banville & Jones took me over to try the refreshing new releases from the respected Franciacorta producer Ca’ del Bosco.  Franciacorta is in Lombardia and is focused on excellence at all levels of production.  Stefano Capelli, the young energetic winemaker was proudly pouring the yet to be released 2008 “Vintage Collection”.  If you like sparkling wine and Champagne, put this producer on your radar quickly.  These wines are excellent. 
2008 Vintage Brut
From 30 year old vines comes this cuvee of 55% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Nero, and 15% Pinot Bianco.  Stefano preferred to eskew flutes and instead poured into larger white wine glasses to allow the aromas to show themselves.  Pale golden in color, this has delicate aromas and flavors of apples and roses.  The Pinot Nero lends body, but this is crisp and refreshing.  12.5% alc.   90-92 points. 
2008 Vintage Dosage Zero
From slightly younger vines,  this blend is 65% Chardonnay, 22% Pinot Nero, and 13% Pinot Bianco.  The “Dosage Zero” on the label indicates that at disgorgement there is no added dosage of sulphites.  This is owing to Ca’ del Bosco’s patented technology that allows for disgorgement in the complete absence of oxygen.  The resulting wines are livlier and fresher with increased capacity to age.  This cuvee is brilliant gold with appealing aromas of apple, honey, sage and flowers.  On the palate this is more full bodied than the Brut and the finely textured, lively bubbles seem intricately woven into the body of the wine.  This is absolutely delicious.  I can imagine it alongside seared scallops in buerre blanc. 92-94 points. 
2008 Vintage Saten
This cuvee us the most steely.  Comprised of 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Bianco, this has notes of citrus, apple, lemon and minerals galore.  The largest dose of Chardonnay is notable and adds a creamy body to the overall feel of the wine.  That’s not to say the wine isn’t crisp; it is – but the sensation is different.  Less sugar is added at disgorgement compared to the other two wines which makes this wine slightly more austere.  90-92 points.
The Vintage Collection 2008 from Ca’ del Bosco

Overall, I was greatly impressed by the quality of the wines in the Banville & Jones Portfolio.  There were many other wines that I simply did not have the time to taste.  When the chance presents itself again, I will focus my priorities accordingly.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this report!

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