Whether you are looking to taste or buy some of the estate's wines, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, or honey, buy locally made cheeses, salumi, breads, pastas, cookies or even pottery, or simply pick up a guide book or post card, Castello Banfi's Enoteca is a welcoming and satisfying stop on your trek through the region.
The building itself, a separate structure at the front of the castle, is a former wine-storage facility begun in medieval times and expanded several times over the centuries. Inside, on counters and display racks made by local craftsmen from antique salvaged lumber, is the bounty of Tuscany's rich earth. Wine, of course, is the main focus. All of Banfi's bottlings, from San Angelo Pinot Grigio to the majestic Brunello di Montalcino, SummuS and ExcelsuS, are available for purchase by the bottle, case, or in a variety of gift packs. If you are having difficulty choosing, you can also taste a range of the wines for a nominal fee, and for a small upcharge, pair the wine to a Tuscan Flavors plate of regional bread, cheese and salumi.
The estate's own extra vergine olive oil, green and rich, ideal for drizzling on tomatoes, salads, grilled meats and fish, or simply dipping bread in, is sold in a unique, amphora-shaped bottle complete with olive-shaped wooden stopper. This is also one of the few outlets for Castello Banfi's prized Salsa Balsamica Etrusca, a rich, concentrated balsamic vinegar that is aged in a battery of small barrels in a special cellar under the castle complex. Here you may also find honey made by bees who pollinate in the estate's meadows and woods, as well as prunes and preserves made from the yield of the estate's plum groves.
To complement this produce, one wall of the shop is dedicated to the artisan works of local food purveyors, including Montalcino baker Lambardi, who packages the local specialty pasta, pinci, and a range of cookies that are ideal with Banfi's FloruS Moscadello di Montalcino dessert wine. They include Cantucci (half-moon shaped biscotti with almond pieces and honey), Brutti ma Buoni ('ugly but good,' made with chopped peanuts in a sort of macaroon style), Tegole (literally translated as 'roof tiles' because of their shape and not their texture, which is soft and filled with almond pieces and raisins), and the perennial favorite, Ossi del Morto (called 'dead man's bones' because of the dry, crumbly consistency of these meringue-type cookies made with egg whites and almonds). There is a range of organic pastas in various cuts, and even some locally grown saffron. There are soaps and woolen shawls made from goats grown in the surrounding region, a selection of shirts, ties and aprons embossed with the Banfi crest, and range of grape-themed silver jewelry and wine accoutrements such as bottle stoppers, and coasters, as well as crystal wine glasses and decanters in several price ranges. Throughout the store there are small displays of ceramic plates, pitchers, goblets, boxes and even bottle stoppers produced at a small, one-person shop in Montalcino. The pieces are offered in a range of styles that reflect both the antique, traditional style used in Montalcino for generations in deference to its Etruscan/Roman origins, as well as more modern, multi-colored expressions. Postcards of the estate, picture books on the region, guide books to Montalcino and reference books on wine in several languages make the enoteca a well-rounded resource.
The Enoteca is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. from March 1st to November 3rd and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from November 4th to February 28th (closed on December 25th and January 1st)