Taste of Wine: Wine Excellence Award Goes to Castello Banfi of Tuscany

Castello Banfi, the iconic vineyard estate in the Montalcino district of Tuscany, continues its high standards of excellence with its latest accolade from the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy.  American-owned and operated, Banfi was the recipient of the Wine Excellence Award for “the Italian wine producer who has made the greatest contribution to developing relations between Italy and the U.S.”

Cameron Hovan is the bartender to know at Eureka! in the Univesity Town Center.  This full service fast-casual format’s bar offers premium whiskeys,  the most comprehensive list around and includes Whiskey “flights.” Photo by Frank Mangio

Cameron Hovan is the bartender to know at Eureka! in the Univesity Town Center.  This full service fast-casual format’s bar offers premium whiskeys,  the most comprehensive list around
and includes Whiskey “flights.” Photo by Frank Mangio

Known throughout the world for its Brunello di Montalcino, Banfi family member  and co-CEO Cristina Mariani-May accepted the honor in a ceremony in Verona Italy in April.
The roots of this eloquent success go back to 1978 when the Mariani family, known at that time for their importing of Italian food and wine, purchased 7,100 acres in Montalcino for the production of quality wines.

A great-great aunt, Teolinda Banfi a head of household for  Pope Pius X1, taught her descendents that “wine is one of nature’s most wholesome foods and cherished gifts.”  At Castello Banfi, a constellation of vineyards was created, using pioneer technolology rather than chemicals, to preserve the sustainable nature of their vines. About 1/3 of their total acreage is under vine, with the rest preserved for the beautiful environment it adds to the Montalcino area.  The Banfi interests have extended to almost all of Italy including Piemonte and important districts of Tuscany like Bolgheri, Maremma and Chianti Classico.

On site, when you visit the winery and vineyards, you will see a state-of-the-art antique glass museum, historic balsameria, enoteca, Tucsan taverna and a luxurious restored set of resort suites, the Castello Il Borgo, a living experience in the vines.
Brunello is the signature wine of Banfi, a superior clone of the Sangiovese grape, enriched for 4 years in large oak barrels with premier quality and expression of the terrior of Tuscany. The 2012 is now in stores. Of special note, Banfi produces a 12 year old Balsamic vinegar called Condimento Balsamico Etrusco, with a dark brown, spicy bouquet, and a pleasant rich sweetish flavor.  Do the research on this extraordinary master winery at castellobanfi.com.

Castello Banfi co-CEO Cristina Mariani-May accepts the Wine Excellence Award for 2017 from U.S. Consul General in Milan and Ambassador to Italy, Philip Reeker. Photo courtesy Banfi

Castello Banfi co-CEO Cristina Mariani-May accepts the
Wine Excellence Award for 2017 from U.S. Consul General
in Milan and Ambassador to Italy, Philip Reeker. Photo courtesy Banfi

Unwind and Relax at Eureka!
Eureka! is a fast-casual multi-faceted restaurant in University Town Center (UTC) that’s creating quite a buzz with its wide-ranging menu, wait help that really helps and a bar  that’s long and attractive with a hot lineup of California wines, craft beers, specialty cocktails and premium whiskeys.  Yes, all that and more!

You can indulge in  a whiskey “flight” of four styles of your choice from the extensive list offered that actually shows the district of origin, like Kentucky, Colorado and California($22.).
The wines are mostly from California with such “by the glass” favorites as:  Fess Parker, Cakebread, Frank Family Lewis Cellars and Justin.  Eureka has ½ off bottles of wine on Tuesday nights.  It has 22 locations with another San Diego area restaurant in planning.  Menu favorites include:  New York Steak for $24. and slow-roasted pork ribs ($20.) Try the cowboy burger with shoestring onions, cheddar and beef BBQ sauce ($12.50).  As a starter, the truffle cheese fries will blow you away ($9.).
Find out more at eurekarestaurantgroup.com.

Wine Bytes
▪    La Costa Wine Company is planning a Chardonnay Tasting Fri. June 2 from 5 to 9pm at a cost of $45. per person.  Top scoring brands like Foxen, Ramey and Rombauer will be featured.  Call 760-431-8455 for an RSVP.
▪    The new OAK + elixir is opening in place of RELM in Carlsbad Village.  The Grand Opening for the public is Fri. June 2 at 6:30pm.  Open to all, from 4 pm to 11pm at 2917 State Street.
▪    A Curated Wine and Cheese Pairing event with the winemaker will be presented at Gianni Buonomo  winery and tasting room in the Ocean Beach district of San Diego, Sat. June 3 from 3 to 4:30pm.  Cost is $25.  Winemaker and owner Keith Rolle will preside.  Call 619-991-9911.
▪    The Sip the City Finale for Urban Wineries will be held in Escondido’s Maple St. Plaza, Sat June 10 from 5:30 to 8pm.  Taste some 14 urban winery wines.  $25. each.  Call 619-564-7644.

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  He is one of the leading commentators on the web.  View his columns at http://tasteofwinetv.com.  And reach him at mangiompc@aol.com.

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