Tag Archives: Banfi

Wine of the week: Banfi Centine Bianco 2016

Centine BiancoBanfi’s Centine Bianco is the Hall of Fame quality white wine that complements the producer’s top-notch cheap reds

Banfi’s red Italian sangiovese blend has been a member of the $10 Hall of Fame for a couple of years, but I didn’t know there was a similar white, the Centine Bianco. It’s a good thing for those of us who love quality cheap wine that I found it.

The Centine Bianco ($10, sample, 13%) is a blend of pinot grigio, chardonnay, and sauvignon blanc; that the last two are hardly Italian doesn’t hurt the wine at all. This speaks to Banfi’s skill at creating inexpensive wine, that it can make them taste Italian even when the grapes aren’t especially so. Would that more big producers made the effort.

The Centine Bianco is crisp and refreshing, but without the off-putting acidity of badly-made Italian cheap wine. In this, it has tropical fruit flavors instead of the sour lemon candy that passes for fruit in mass-produced pinot grigio.

Highly recommended, and almost certain to return to the $10 Hall of Fame in 12 months.

Imported by Banfi Vintners

Mini-reviews 48: Banfi, Paso a Paso, Ferrari, Friulano

Reviews of wines that don ?t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month.

? Castello Banfi Centine 2011 ($11. sample, 14%): Consistent, professionally-made Super Tuscan-style red blend that combines traditional Italian flavors with New World fruit. Won’t win any awards, but won’t disappoint, either.

? Paso a Paso Verdejo 2011 ($8, purchased, 13.5%): Still decent $8 white wine from Spain with sour lemon fruit, but not as nicely done as the 2010. It’s not as fresh, and is a little thinner, especially in the middle.

? Ferrari Brut NV ($25, sample, 12.5%): Italian sparkler made with Methode Champenoise ? tight bubbles, quality apple and lemon fruit, and a clean finish. But it inhabits that middle ground between cava and cremant and Champagne, so not the value of the former and not the quality of the latter.

? Livio Felluga Friulano 2011 ($30, sample, 13.5%): Very nicely done Italian white made with the little-known friulano grape, with subtle flavors of lime and green apple and a nutty finish. Still young, but price is problematic.

Winebits 162: Pacific Rim, sommeliers, nutrition facts

? Grahm sells Pacific Rim: Randall Grahm has sold one of the last parts of his $10 wine empire, the Pacific Rim white wine brand, to the family that owns Banfi Vintners, a leading U.S. wine importer, and Italy’s Castello Banfi winery. No sale price was disclosed. Grahm, the impresario of California’s Bonny Doon, broke up his $10 wine operation in 2006, selling the Big House and Cardinal Zin labels and splitting Pacific Rim off from Bonny Doon. Pacific Rim, based in Washington state, is best known for riesling, but also does gewurtztraminer and chenin blanc.

? Not enough qualified sommeliers? That’s the opinion of top sommelier Jordan Mackay, who says demand for the wine experts in restaurants has outgrown supply. “Inexperienced sommeliers are winding up in jobs that they’re simply not ready for,” he wrote on Zester Daily Web site. This has hurt restaurant wine sales and reputations, he says, and isn’t so good for the rest of us: “And, diners, for a while, be warned that you may face young somms intent on selling you the wine they like (instead of the one you’re asking for).”

? Diageo wants serving facts on labels: Diageo, one of the world’s largest drinks company, wants the federal government to allow producers to put nutritional information, like serving size, alcohol per serving, carbohydrates and calories, on wine and spirits. The government’s alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau has been considering the Serving Fact Information proposal since 2003 — so long ago that I wrote a newspaper story about it. It has been held up by resistance from the industry, as well as a low priority in Washington. Diageo, seeing a marketing advantage, wants the TTB to let producers voluntarily include the information.