Tuscany Uncorked: 2009 Castello Banfi "Cum Laude"

"My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me." ~ Jim Valvano

As we all know Father's day is right around the corner, as for me I plan to just hang out with my dad in the afternoon, take him out to lunch for some Philly-Steak sandwiches. I'll be tuning out my phone, looking, listening and smiling as he tells me the same stories over and over. But for that afternoon the stage will be all his and he'll have my wrapped attention because at that moment there will be no other place I want to be. And to my Son, I want to say for the whole world to know, even though you're not near-by, I'm very proud of the man you've become. Rock-on!

Okay, so the bottle of wine you see pictured above arrived early yesterday morning, all the way from Connecticut of all places to my doorstep here in San Diego. It did rest comfortably up until about 7PM when I popped its cork, oh-my. If the wine had arrived earlier [like last week] maybe it would have shown better in the review, who knows really. For everyone looking to check the environmental-sensitivity box, Banfi has it covered, cheers to that!

As you may have guessed already, yes this is a sample. It comes from one of my favorite producers Castello Banfi, known for their readily approachable, yet authentic Italian wines. A producer who makes everything from value-oriented Chianti to highly sought after Brunello Riservas. Now I was hoping to receive the Brunello for this review, but as I've learned on more than one occasion you have to roll with the punches [or even punch-downs] in the wine biz. 

In the bottle is a blend of four different grapes; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, and Syrah. Each individually vinified and then blended together before bottling, where the wine rested for six months before being released.  In my opinion, this highly-honored Cuvee could have gone in a slightly more authentic direction with Sangiovese playing a larger role. 

I also say that because as the back-label indicates this wine spent 12 months in French oak barriques, this is not traditional. It's a wine made for the California palate and I get that. Now that said, this is a wine which I would highly recommend decanting for an hour or more to help it loosen up a bit. It's the style of wine which should pair nicely with this weekend's possible back-yard barbecue plans and especially so if those plans include one of your favorite cuts of steak. 

It's the perfect Father's day style of wine, broad-shouldered and definitely masculine in style. A bit of a diamond in the rough tho, you have to give this wine a chance to open up to see its full potential unfold. It's not a wine to be gulped down, like your sons and/or daughters in the school-yard during lunch, sucking down those juice boxes like there's no tomorrow. So no put away those straws, this a wine to be slowly sipped and enjoyed with a fat-prime-time T-Bone or maybe even a Porter House, maybe even a fat Philly Steak Sub? 

Okay, folks the moment you've all been waiting for, the tasting notes: In the glass, you'll find a beaming crimson core inviting the first splash across the gums. The aromas attempting to escape from the glass are more like bunglers attempting to escape the loony-bin, none-the-less you still get a vibrant black/blueberry compote wrapped around some cedar and a faint whiff of wet-earth. 

The tannin structure is immediately stiff [right from the bottle] but after some decanting, they mellow considerably and meld into the background. This wine shows off its balance with vibrant acidity and while the red/dark fruits are abundant, they don't over-stay their welcome. This wine weighs in at 14.5% on the ABV scale, sells for an SRP of $35 and is widely available. Score 89

That's all I've got for you today folks, I hope you all enjoy your weekend. And for crying-out-loud go spend some time with your Father, quit all the navel-gazing belly-aching I hear going on so much. Give him a hug, tell him you know he's not perfect be neither are you. Pop some corks, share a meal and try to remember all the good times. Until next time folks remember life is short, we have few chances/opportunities to get things right, so as always sip long and prosper cheers!


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