On July 5th, celebrating the second edition of the Italian music festival inspired by Frances Grands Crus Musicaux, Castello Banfi will host Russian Maestro Alexander Kniazev in concert. After the resounding success of its first edition, the Melodia del Vino, festival, a true voyage across the excellence of Tuscan wines, returns with the magic of international classical music. On July 5, celebrating the fifth of seven stops in the series, framed by the impressive walls of Castello Banfi in Montalcino, the notes of Alexander Knaziev, the international of the festivals second edition, will ring out with his performance of the Recital di violoncello. Considered by critics the be the heir of Mstislav Rostropovich, the Russian Maestro began studying the violoncello at a tender age, under the tutelage of Alexander Fedorchenko. Honored at the most prestigious competitions including the Cajkovskij of Moscow and Vilnius, he has had the opportunity to play with some of the most important artists of international renown. Over the course of his career he has earned recognition by the critics, above all for his album dedicated to Max Reger and for the one dedicated to “Schelomo” by Ernest Bloch. In addition to having played for some of the top directors (Temirkanov, Rostropovich, Bashmet), he worked together with numerous European orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, the National Orchestra of France and the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. During the evening, participants will have the opportunity to taste two prestigious wines from Banfi’s rich portfolio: San Angelo Pinot Grigio 2011 and BelnerO 2009. Peugeot, one of the main sponsors of the series, will be present at Castello Banfi with two of its new models, the 3008 HYbrid4 and the 508 RXH, two autos that, thanks to their environmentally friendly engineering, are perfectly aligned to Melodia del Vino. “To participate in this second edition of Festival Melodia del Vino,” said Cristina Mariani-May, family proprietor of Castello Banfi,“ seemed like a natural choice, especially after the first edition was so well received. Maestro Marc Laforet and Michel Gotlib, creators of this project, dreamt of following a unique and extraordinary experience, with all the senses in harmony, for classical music and outstanding wine from such a prestigious region as Tuscany.” Castello Banfi, immersed in this extraordinary land and always dedicated to the pursuit of excellence, produces wines characterized by a spirit that is deeply rooted in this unique and extraordinary territory. A benchmark for Brunello production, Castello Banfi was created in 1978 by the Mariani family, who chose to develop in Montalcino their center for quality wine, closely linking Banfi to this region and its development. Located on the south western slopes of the township of Montalcino, the estate is composed of 2.830 hectares, one third of which is dedicated to a constellation of vineyards, while the remainder of the property is left to natural woodland, fruit groves and grain fields. Melodia del Vino will take place from June 26 to July 7 2012. The Festival, inspired by its French twin "Grands Crus Musicaux", is set as an “ideal bridge”between the excellence of Tuscany and France. For this reason, the Region of Tuscany decided to support the initiative starting in the summer of 2011. Creators of this original formate, Maestro Marc Laforet, artistic director of both festivals, and Michel Gotlib, childhood friend of Maestro Laforet, lover of music and wine as well as president of the Festival Melodia del Vino. Melodia del Vino is one of the events promoted via the internet. The Fondazione Sistema Toscana, which already promotes Tuscany online on behalf of the Regione Toscana, manages the official site of the event, www.melodiadelvino.it and will run its social campaign.