Castello Banfi is one of the most notable and widely available producers in Tuscany, and today we dive in to a pair of new releases from the storied operation, both luxe, “super-Tuscan” wines that are far from the usual construction found in Chianti.
2017 Banfi SummuS Toscana IGT – “SummuS, Latin for “highest.” is a wine of towering elegance.” A 15.5% abv blend of cabernet sauvignon, sangiovese, and syrah, this wine pours on notes of dark chocolate, black pepper, and toasted walnuts before letting its well-oxidized fruit character — black cherry, blackberry, and raspberry — come into focus. Notes of bay leaf are fleeting, as jammy yet heavily tannic notes of Port-soaked cherries quickly take over, the finish clinging to those extracted, tart fruit elements. Complicated as hell. I’d say another 10 years in cellar is in order to get things to coalesce. A- / $83
2019 Magna Cum Laude Toscana IGT – Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, sangiovese, and syrah. Though it’s two years younger, this is a much more “ready to go” wine, effusive with its dark cherry and raspberry fruit notes, lightly touched with a darker cassis and chocolate quality that offers even more depth. An earthy mushroom quality adds gravity and elegance but never feels overly weighty, subduing the wine’s innate tannins with a refinement that fades into notes of mixed florals and some tobacco. It’s a rare super-Tuscan that drinks perfectly well on its own, though pairing it with a hearty meal is hardly a mistake. A / $50