(Montalcino, March 2007) Castello Banfi, long recognized for excellence in winemaking and hospitality, has added another jewel to its crown with the scheduled spring 2007 opening of “Castello Banfi – Il Borgo” luxury accommodations.
The family-owned wine estate in Tuscany’s Brunello region already boasts a glass museum, enoteca, and two restaurants: the informal “Castello Banfi – La Taverna,” and the Michelin-starred fine dining “Castello Banfi – Il Ristorante,” Referred to by Guide Michelin as “A charming and elegant restaurant in one of Italy's loveliest 13C vineyard castles; the cuisine is imaginative with top-quality service.”
The 14-room Borgo takes its name from the cluster of 18thcentury homes built alongside the fortified castle once it became safe to live beyond the thick walls and gates, but still prudently close to the protective community. Guests will be nurtured as part of this wine and food community, in a private, cloistered setting complete with exclusive access to the swimming pool, spa services, reading room, exercise area and other amenities. A cozy dining room serves Continental and Full Tuscan breakfast, and a cloistered pergola garden provides space for quiet contemplation. Wine tastings by regional experts and cooking lessons under the auspices of Italy’s leading chefs are planned, in addition to jazz and classical music concerts. Concierge services will liaise for a range of tours, sports and other activities around the region, including car service.
Rooms, varying in size, location and décor, are all individually designed with careful attention to detail by Italy’s leading interior designer, Federico Forquet. Each offers a King-sized bed, while the five designated suites are additionally furnished with a Queen-sized sofa bed in a separate room. Luxuriant amenities include flat screen satellite television and stereo, high-speed internet, and a generously stocked mini bar that includes a selection of estate wines and appropriate accompaniments. Each spacious room is painted and furnished in a different color scheme and appointed with eclectic themed artwork; several include a separate dressing area, writing desk and breakfast table. Oversized bathrooms are stocked with bath foam, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion made from Sangiovese grapes grown in the surrounding vineyards. Special attention is paid to individual guest needs and desires in an elegantly personalized form of hospitality.
Castello Banfi is the first wine estate in the world to be internationally recognized for exceptional environmental, ethical and social responsibility (ISO 14001 and SA8000) as well as customer satisfaction (ISO 9001:2000). The American-owned estate has been declared “International Winery of the Year” an unprecedented four times at VinItaly’s International Enological Concourse, which also named Castello Banfi “Italy’s Best Wine Estate” eleven consecutive times. Wine Enthusiast Magazinedeclared the estate its “Winery of the Year,” and editors ofWine Spectatorranked Castello Banfi Brunello di Montalcino and the Riserva Poggio all’Oro in their top 10 wines of the year twice in the last three years, while their readers declared it “Wine of the Year” in an online poll.
Perhaps most gratifying of all to the Mariani family proprietors, though, is the praise of neighboring vintners who acknowledge Banfi’s role in pioneering a new era in Brunello and bringing the wine world’s attention to Montalcino. Through clonal research on the Sangiovese grape, customized cooperage and winemaking technique, and conditions that reduce the presence of sulfites and histamines in wine, Castello Banfi’s dedication to excellence in the art of winemaking has launched a renaissance in the Tuscan wine world.
Signature wines of Castello Banfi include the single-vineyard reserve Poggio all’Oro and unfiltered cru Poggio alle Mura Brunellos, proprietary cuvées ExcelsuS, SummuS and Cum Laude, and varietals Tavernelle Cabernet Sauvignon, Colvecchio Syrah and San Angelo Pinot Grigio.