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Wines of Italy

Feb-Mar 2001

90 Castello Banfi 1997, Sant’Antino DOC Summus
An innovative blend of 45% Brunello di Montalcino, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Syrah results in a deep plummy nose, while on the palate the flavors are reminiscent of cherry, cranberry and subtle oak toast, and the finish displays dried fruits and earth tones. A serious, satisfying wine.

88 Travaglini 1996, Gattinara
The ‘96 is more elegant than the ‘95 Reserve – tart berry and rose petal flavors, dry on the palate with a wisp of wet earth and a touch of mushroom in the long, tart finish

88 Castello Banfi 1997, Tuscany Excelsus
A Bordeaux-style blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot that shows its European origins. Austere and complex, clean and dry, cassis and cherry, earth and leather, with firm, well-integrated tannin.

87 Travaglini 1995, Gattinara, Reserve
Leather and dried rose petals on the nose. Add a touch of cocoa on the palate, moderate tannin, drying, flowery finish

84 Cecchi 1998, Chianti Colli Senesi D.O.C.G. Estate Bottled, Arcano
Cecchi’s organic chianti is light and elegant, showing cranberry fruit with a drying finish.
Dec-Jan 2001

90 Castello di Gabbiano 1996, Riserva Chianti Classico
Ahhh! This is very good Chianti. Full-bodied, big, round, with good depth of bright cranberry fruit, moderate tannin, and a long, slightly astringent finish. Very satisfying with veal, pasta, or eggplant Parmigiana.

89 Banfi 1998, Toscana Indicazione Geografica Tipica, Centine vintage red wine
An outstanding wine for the price, Banfi’s "Super Tuscan" from Montalcino is a blend of 60% Sangiovese, and 20% each of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s aromatic with round cranberry and blackberry fruit, complex earth tones, moderate tannin, and oak spice. A wine that’s easy to match with a wide range of food, and sure to please both connoisseur and novice alike.

88 Antinori, Castello della Sala 1998, Umbria, Cervaro
Here’s a case where an alternative to Chardonnay can be mostly Chardonnay. In this case 80%, to 20% of the native Grechetto. The wine has fascinating mineral-earthy aromas, dry citrusy fruit, smoky oak nuances, and a long, complex yet subtle finish.
Dec-Jan 2001

88 Castello di Gabbiano 1994, Riserva Oro Chianti Classico
Don’t want to wait for wine to age? Here’s your chance to get an already aged Chianti. It displays some bottle bouquet–green tea, earth, a hint of soy sauce, but those characters still take a back seat to the tart berry fruit. Moderately astringent, this is an interesting wine that cries out for food – pasta or steak in particular.

87 Banfi 1997, Dolcetto d’Acqui DOC
Here’s a case where a wine need not be complex to be thoroughly enjoyable. This is a lighter style, elegant Dolcetto, with silky texture and vibrant berry fruit. If you want to search for it, there’s a hint of soil-leather character in the background, but what matters here is the fruit and the exquisite balance. A great value, drink over the next year or two. Pairs well with roast beef, smoked salmon, cheese and pasta dishes.

Oct-Nov 2000

88 Antinori, Castello Della Sala 1998, Umbria, Indicazione Geografica Tipica
Bright peach and watermelon, round on the palate with crisp edges and a long minerally finish. Very appealing and very food friendly – shellfish and poultry are a given, but it also works with roast beef. A good value at

85 Antinori 1999, Orvieto, Campogrande, Orvieto
Light and crisp with mineral and mushroom character, and a lingering finish that mirrors the nose and mid-palate.
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