Italy’s most influential wine guides have announced the release of their 2004 editions, with raves for the Brunellos and Montalcino Super Tuscan wines of the Castello Banfi vineyard estate. The Gambero Rosso Guida ai Vini d' Italia 2004 rated 14,000 wines from nearly 2,000 producers, and gave its highest ranking, the coveted "Tre Bicchieri" (three glasses) to only 254 wines, including Castello Banfi Poggio alle Mura Brunello di Montalcino 1998. This wine was one of only two Brunellos from the 1998 vintage given the top rating. The Duemilavini 2004, the official guide of the Association of Italian Sommeliers gave two Castello Banfi wines their highest ranking, "5 Grappoli" (grape clusters): SummuS 2000 and Poggio all'Oro Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1997. Only 372 of the 13,000 wines tasted received this rating. Le Guide De L'Espresso Vini D'italia 2004 gave its highest recognition, "5 Bottles" to only 152 wines, including Poggio all'Oro Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 1997. "We are proud of this recognition of our efforts and humbled by the prestigious company that these guides place us in," said Cristina Mariani-May, family proprietor of Castello Banfi. "These rankings honor the entire team of people behind our wines, and inspire us to continually improve on the excellence of our wines and all of our activities relating to their production." Celebrating the 25th anniversary of its founding by the Mariani family, proprietors of leading US wine importer Banfi Vintners, Castello Banfi has distinguished itself for its clonal research on Sangiovese for the production of Brunello di Montalcino, and pioneering innovative "Super Tuscan" blends in the Montalcino zone. The vineyard estate has been described as a “constellation of single vineyards,” and is crowned by a medieval castle that serves as a hospitality center for the region, housing two restaurants, an enoteca, and a museum tracing the history of glass as it relates to wine.