Montalcino, Italy (January 2005) – Buoyed by sales growth in Europe and Asia, Banfi Chianti Classico DOCG will make its debut in the US market early this year. As with Banfi’s popular Riserva version of the wine, marketed in the US for the past four decades, the selected grapes for Banfi Chianti Classico are grown in the historic Classico zone of Tuscany’s Chianti appellation. The wine will be made by Banfi’s renowned winemaking team at their estate winery in Montalcino, Tuscany. Chianti is regarded by many as the "quintessential Italian wine” for its character, drinkability and versatility with flavorful foods. Eight adjacent, yet distinct, areas covering a vast part of central Tuscany make up the Chianti appellation, but only wines produced in the oldest and original zone, according to strict rules governing details from vineyard management and yield to winemaking, aging and bottling, may be designated as Chianti Classico DOCG. Banfi Chianti Classico DOCG embodies all the characteristics that have made this wine an enduring classic: an alluring bouquet of black fruit, violets and leather; rich flavors of cherry and plums; supple tannins and appealing acidity. The wine is composed of 80% Sangiovese grapes and a cuvée of other red varietals, and fermented with a traditional skin contact of 8-10 days. The wine is bottled after 7 months aging in French oak barriques, which is the major difference between it and the Riserva, which must age for a minimum of two years in oak followed by at least 3 months in bottle before release. Banfi Chianti Classico is the perfect accompaniment to a wide variety of food, including red-sauced pastas, grilled meats, and roasts. It will sell at a retail price of around $13. “We’re pleased to offer fans of our Chianti Classico Riserva a Chianti Classico that meets the same quality standards at a price that makes it perfect for everyday,” explained Banfi family proprietor Cristina Mariani-May. “Both Banfi Chianti Classico and Chianti Classico Riserva reflect our respect for tradition in their focus on Sangiovese and expression of terroir, as well as our winemaking style in their appealing taste and structure.