Tuscan Cuvée: Banfi, Col Di Sasso, Toscano 2008

Another wet and soggy day here in San Diego, with the day off and lots of wine to review I decided to uncork another sample sent for the review process by the wonderful folks at Banfi, who I would love to visit the next time I'm in Italy, which will be next year.

I've developed a wonderful relationship with their US-based PR team who I had a chance to meet whilst at the Wine Bloggers Conference this past summer in Washington State. I've grown fond of many of the wines produced by Castello Banfi because overall they produce delicious well made wines consistently across the board, many of which give the consumer a real "bang" for the buck.

That's is not to say that I'm thrilled with every wine that I'm sent nor do I get pressure to get their reviews out onto the pages of my blog and insert organic links, no payola here folks. In my opinion, it's a very professional arrangement. One I've also developed with many other PR firms and the wines they represent, I review on a regular basis. If you been reading this blog then you understand I am the antithesis of the corporate shill, because I just flop the truth out there and let the chips fall where they may.

That said, as you may know, if I don't particularly get the style of a particular wine, then I won't sit here and throw it under the bus either. I let you do the math. If that is the type of wine blog you want, well off with you then because there are plenty of those types out there in the blogosphere and as the Stones say, you won't get no satisfaction. On the other hand, if you want to get the 411 on how to get your hands on some mind-altering juice stay tuned, as I've come across another fantastic deal.

Does this seem like a contradiction, perhaps it's and I freely admit that, because yes I only point out the wines I like and the wines I don't like just don't get published [for which I am marginalized]. Sometimes I do write about the wine that I kind-of like, but I'm not overly impressed with and these wines don't get a good score [I know those dreaded scores] but they do achieve a score high enough for me to write about them.

I hope this bit of transparency has given you some perspective on where I'm coming from and where you can expect this blog to go in the future. I like to think that when I've come across a great [meaning with mass appeal to 85% of the wine-loving public] bottle of wine, it's something I immediately recognize and want to tell the whole world about it, which is why I write this blog in first place. It's funny too, that many times after I've discovered something utterly winetastic, that the print-media folks come out [months later] and declare certain juice as being winetastic as well. So there you have it, in a nut-shell the method to my wine reviewing madness. Not sure how I got off on this tangent, but rainy days seem to be a good time to vent and flop-out some insights into the how and why of the CCWB wine review style.
Okay, now that I've had my say I'm stepping [reluctantly] down off my soap-box to bring you another fantastic deal in wine. Yes, this wine is under the $10 threshold and no it's not that two-dollar mass produced jones-juice that you get from TJ's either. However, if you like to step up to some quality juice for just a few dollars more, than the 2008 Banfi Toscana Col Di Sasso is the wine for you.

What's in a Name: Col Di Sasso is Italian for "Stony Hill" where the fruit for this wine was cultivated on the rocky and impervious slopes of the southern end of Banfi's estate in Montalcino.

The Blend: It is a rich Tuscan Cuvée consisting of 70% Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and weighing in at a mere 13.3% ABV, yet delivering so much mouth-watering flavor.

No Wood: I'm not typically a fan of red wines that have not spent any time in wood, but this wine has convinced of its merits for a drink now and drink often wines of this style of winemaking. The fermentation was done in stainless steel tanks for 7-8 days. No oak was used at any time, but it does undergo a short period of bottle aging prior to release.

Sniffy, Swirly-swirl, and Slurp: Diving into the glass with my fat half Irish nose and swirling about are beautiful aromas of bright cherry, blueberry, dark cherry and a bit of earthiness. Setting the glass down and angling it toward a beam of light on stair step window I found a shimmering ruby colored core. Lifting the glass, giving another swirl or two to take my first sip, I drank in a bounty of dark and red fruits, licorice, black currant, balanced acidity, medium to full body leading to a lush finish. I put down the glass and couldn't believe that this"baby" super Tuscan sells for just under ten dollars.

Pairing Suggestions: Oh my this wine will pair with just about anything you could throw at it. Whether it will be your favorite Italian themed dish or some burgers off the grill, this wine is ready to rock n roll. Seriously good on its own but will pair nicely with Swedish Meatballs, strewn over a bed of brown rice, accompanied by a crispy side salad. Simple, straightforward, but oh it delivers so much lick-smacking flavors.

Price and Where to Purchase: This wine sells for about $10 most places, that I've seen it online. But if you don't want to order it online, may I suggest you give the folks at your local Bevmo a call, the can order it for you. As they stock many of the Castello Banfi wines on a regular basis, so don't be shy just ask them to bring a case or two and take a home a case for yourself.

Full Disclosure: As I stated in the paragraphs above this wine was sent as a sample for the review process.

What's the Score: I scored this wine a solid 90 points on the CCWB point scale. A fantastic QPR champ.

Other Voices: Um, well it looks like I'm the only one who has written a review of this wonderful wine, so I guess you just have to trust me on this one.

My Recommendation: This is a great everyday type wine, that will hold up nicely even if you have to leave it overnight to drink it the next day. A great wine to purchase by the case, to keep around the house as it's perfect to just drink by the glass or pair with food. But with something like 100,000 cases produced you don't have to hurry too much to get your share.


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