Brunello with Dante

Frank Corr meets Banfi Ambassador


It’s a small world.
When I met up with Banfi Wines brand ambassador Dante Cecchini, in Bray this week, we went for a coffee to Carpe Diem, my very favourite coffee shop just off the seafront.
Before we even sat down, Dante was chatting in animated Italian to the barista . It turned out that they were both from the same town in Italy.
Eventually we got to talk about Banfi, one of the most interesting of American-Italian wine businesses, best known as the producer of ‘Reunuite’ Lambrusco, which has, for many decades been the biggest-selling imported red wine in the USA.
The business was founded in 1919 by John F Mariani Snr, just as New York went ‘dry’ under Prohibition and it was named after his aunt Teodolino Banfi. Almost out of business before it started, the fledgling wine importer survived Prohibition by importing spices but then got around to importing quality Italian wines. Sons John Jnr. and Harry expanded the portfolio by adding German, Swiss and French wines to the list, but with the launch of ‘Reunite’ the emphasis turned back to Italy.
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Exclusive Latour


Latour‘Would you spend €130 of your own money on a bottle of this wine ?’ I asked fellow tasters who included wine writers and restaurateurs.

‘Not really’ was the unanimous response.
We were tasting Louis Latour Corton-Charlemange Grand Cru wines from 2008 to 2010 and we had just been told the retail price.
Louis-Fabrice Latour was conducting the tasting and he went into considerable detail about the terroir within which the wines are produced. At the end of the 19th century his family pulled up entire vineyards of Aligoté and Pinot Noir vines to replace them with Chardonnay and since then they have been producing world-renowned white wines.
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Biodynamic Moser

Much of the theory of biodynamic farming makes perfect sense. Get rid of chemicals, be they in fertilizers or pesticides and create a balance of natur


e in which each species will co-exist and co-protect.
A select group of winemakers have been doing this now for decades, creating biodiversity in their vineyards with insects, flowers and other plans encouraged to share space and soil with the vines which produce ‘organic grapes’.
The results have been encouraging and most of the wines produced in this manner are excellent. They may not be the greatest in the wine world, but that is principally because grapes for  the more traditionally ‘fine wines’ are not produced biodynamically- yet.
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