For decades, Castello Banfi has been pioneering various clonal research techniques. The efforts of this experimentation, matching soils to specific clones of Sangiovese, has yielded impressive results.
Banfi’s efforts at site specific, clonal research began in 1985 with the identification of the Poggio all’Oro vineyard. Some 200 acres, the site possesses the perfect soil and exposure for Sangiovese of the utmost character. But, Banfi wasn’t done there. As a result of this pioneering effort, in the early 90’s a second parcel of land was identified; Poggio alle Mura. It’s here where a similar, but vastly different expression of Sangiovese was born.
Last Autumn, I sat down with Enrico Viglierchio to discuss the new Brunello released from Banfi’s Vigna Marrucheto. In my article for the Somm Journal (page 34) we also discussed the character of the two vineyards that are the subject of this article. After several decades, these sites are producing complex grapes with amazing character. I wanted to explore these vineyards side by side – to compare the style differences in the two Riserva. The results were interesting.
The 2010 Castello Banfi Brunello Riserva, Poggio All’Oro is a gorgeous Sangiovese. Deep ruby in color, immediately upon opening, the aromas were notable and intense from the glass. Cured meat, cigar leaf tobacco and toasted spice frame the wild berry fruit with distinction. On the palate, the wine is elegant and graceful. The solid core of berry fruit glides over your palate and leaves tobacco leaf, fennel, and dusty earth in its wake. Regal and refined, this is feminine all the way and is still juicy and fresh. A wonderful Riserva to be enjoyed now or over the next 5 years. Poggio all’Oro is aged 6 years before release, including 2 1/2 in barrique with the balance in large botte. 97 points. Find this wine.
A look at Poggio all’Oro from above…
The 2015 Castello Banfi Brunello Riserva Poggio alle Mura stands in notable contrast to its older sibling. Whereas Poggio All’Oro represents grace, femininity and finesse, Poggio alle Mura is about power.
In the glass it’s a deep garnet color with vibrant violet highlights. But even now, at this young age, you can already see the classic rim of iodine developing. Black plums, wild cherry, Christmas Cake mark the nose. You get the sense this is brooding even before tasting it. On the palate the wine retains freshness throughout. It’s core of black cherry and fleshy black plum fruit are punctuated by sweet pipe tobacco and fennel. Toasty notes too as this sees just a tad bit more barrique aging than Poggio all’Oro. Full bodied, viscous and long, this is much more masculine than its counterpart and could use another 4-6 years to soften and develop. In the cantina, 90% of the wine is aged for 2 years in French barrique and 10% in large cask. 95+ points. Find this wine.
The dedicated vineyards which source Poggio alle Mura slope down from the walls of the Castle and were planted in 1992 following decades of site specific clonal research. The first vintage produced as a Riserva was the 2007.