An eagerly awaited vintage combined with innovative winemaking There is great anticipation for the release of the first bottles of the 2007 vintage Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino and the estate’s top cru, Poggio alle Mura. By law released five years after the vintage, this particular wine from this particular vintage has a lot riding on it: after all, this is the first vintage to be produced using the estate’s new micro-winery, dubbed “Horizon.” But what exactly is Horizon? It is the culmination of an entire production philosophy aimed at achieving excellence through a series of features and high-level solutions that go from the vineyard to the cellar, to improve every aspect of production.What can you see that involves Horizon? At the heart of the project, entirely developed in-house, there is an original idea which is actually visible to all visitors of the winery: the fermentation tanks that combine oak and stainless steel as their construction materials. In a totally original concept, large traditionally-shaped fermentation vats (tini, in Italian) have a base and cap of stainless steel with jackets of replaceable oak staves, thus combining the advantages of both materials. With Horizon the quality of premium wines of Castello Banfi makes a further and decisive step towards absolute excellence.As family proprietor Cristina Mariani-May says, “Horizon allows us to achieve and maintain outstanding quality and the highest expression of terroir. It was developed mainly with two key concepts in mind: precise viticulture and winemaking accuracy. Banfi has always been obsessive about detail and we have constantly aimed for excellence. Our Horizon winery is therefore an essential next step allowing us to enhance our authentic ‘Banfi style’ that, together with the unique features of our territory in southern Montalcino, will feature in our range of wines as from the 2007 vintage, the first to be vinified according to these new practices.”Mariani-May continues, “After careful studying the soils of our estate, researching the best local clones of Sangiovese to match with those soils, and then studying different woods and barrel types, we are able to highlight the optimal expression of Sangiovese. What we needed was to find a fermentation process that could further build on these strengths.” Horizon would seem to be the answer.But Horizon is not just about the barrels. Above all, it is about detail. Castello Banfi manages each of its Brunello vineyards individually, row by row, vine by vine, as an artisan. After manual harvesting and a rigid selection of grapes in the vineyard, a further sorting selection takes place at the winery, by bunch as well as individual grapes on special sorting tables. Nothing is left to chance in the making of this wine, right from the very first stages. Poggio alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino cru, aged in 350-litre barriques and large 60 and 90-hectolitre casks, is the symbol of the new ‘Banfi style’. A wine with vibrant color, good complexity with a nose of ripe berry fruit, integrated with hints of spiciness, rich with smooth tannins and a long finish. This is a carefully-crafted Brunello, perfected by Horizon, which will further improve with bottle ageing and will be a source of great satisfaction to its fortunate owners over a long period of time. Poggio alle Mura 2007 Castello Banfi’s top Brunello diMontalcino cru wine, Poggio alle Mura2007 (pictured right), is a rich traditionalBrunello, in typical southern Montalcinostyle, coming from a stellar vintageand benefiting from the balancedapproach and quality of Banfi’s Horizon Micro-Winery.