Translated from Latin, Summus means “Summit” or in Castello Banfi’s parlance, the peak of their winemaking excellence. 
I have long loved the 1999 vintage in Tuscany, but coming on the heels of the much ballyhooed 1997,  it’s often times over looked.  However,  it produced some great wines that I still have in the cellar and today’s CellarNote spotlights one such wine;  the 1999 Castello Banfi Summus.

The 1999 Castello Banfi Summus is a blend of 60% Brunello, 35% Cabernet, and 5% Syrah.  The blend has changed over time but the hallmark of Summus is its ability to improve with cellaring. In fact, it needs it.
In it’s youth, Summus is often dominated by the Cabernet in the blend, but as it ages, the Cabernet mellows and the Sangiovese characteristics become more prominent. All the while, the Syrah lurks underneath. 

The 1999 is still very dark purple. Amazingly,  it’s appearance has not changed since I first tasted it – probably 10 years ago.   We decanted the wine from a monstrous coffee grind like sediment that left a substantial crust on the bottle and almost clogged my decanting funnel. 

Displaying aromas of crushed wild berry with eucalyptus, mint, and cured meats, this wine is clearly approaching it’s apex aromatically. On the palate, the wine is full bodied and long with intense flavors of crushed wild black fruits, fresh herbs, mint, tobacco and smoke. All blend seamlessly. 
The tannins have mellowed considerably and what’s left is silky, velvety elegant fruit on a wonderfully fresh frame.  Bravo!  94 points.  About $45 upon release. Current vintages sell between $45-$60,  so shop wisely.


~ Check the blackish purple in the decanter ~


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