Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino 1997 was ranked #3 of Wine Spectator's "Top 100 Wines of the Year" in the newly released December 31, 2002 - January 15, 2003 issue. "Americans John and Harry Mariani created this estate from scratch beginning in 1978, hiring enologist Ezio Rivella to oversee the winemaking. The work was completed in 1984, and today 2,400 acres of the 7,100 acre property are planted to grapes. Made from 100 percent Sangiovese grown in several estate vineyards, this Brunello spends two and a half years in large oak casks before being bottled. It's the highest rated Brunello normale from Banfi to date." Rated 94 "A Brunello for everyone. Solid and focused, with mineral, blackberry and licorice character. Full-bodied and very chunky, with lots of round tannins and a long, long finish. Needs time to open. Best after 2003. 32,500 cases made."