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Castello Banfi is a rarity among Italian wine estates, not just because of its size (some 7,100 acres, of which around 2,400 are planted with vines), its composition of single vineyards, or its state-of-the-art winery, but because it was started from scratch less than 20 years ago.

Most of the land was covered with forest and brush when the Mariani family found it; nevertheless, they recognized that the site was exactly what they had been searching for. John and Harry Mariani, successful American importers, joined forces with Italy's leading enologist, Ezio Rivella; their objective was to produce top-quality wine on a scale never before attempted in Italy. The first step was to find suitable land. The criteria was direct: the climate and soil had to be ideal for the cultivation of many of the world's noble grape varieties, and it had to be within a region of Italy that already had a tradition of quality winemaking.

The 4,500 acres that they first found were near Montalcino, and eligible for the DOCG of Brunello di Montalcino, one of the most prestigious of all Italian wines. By great good luck the adjacent estate, of 2,600 acres, became available shortly afterwards. The 11th century castle was the final purchase, and was acquired in 1984. The estate was renamed Castello Banfi. The land was planted to vines in only a few places; elsewhere the only crops were corn and olives. But there are abundant south-facing slopes overlooking a valley bottom that, 40 million years ago, was under the sea. 

Even today, the calcium-rich soil is scattered with seashells. To the south of the estate is the massive Monte Amiata, at 5,700 feet the highest mountain in southern Tuscany. The shelter this offers from storms moving in from the south means that the Montalcino hills are the driest in Tuscany; on summer nights lightning can often be seen dancing around the mountain.

For more information on tour and tasting, please email, telephone or fax us.
Tel: 0577 877 505/877 514 - Fax: 0577 877 508