Castello Banfi offers perfect white wine for summer

The Mariani family enjoyed success importing wines and made its fortune selling Riunite. In 1978, the family decided to go back to its roots in Italy and become winemakers.

Almost 8,000 acres of prime land with gorgeous rolling hills, forests and great soil was purchased in the heart of Tuscany near the quaint little village of Montalcino. They named it Castello Banfi.

Banfi is now known for quality wines using state-of-the-art winemaking techniques. It has virtually cornered the U.S. market for top class Italian wine at reasonable prices.

This San Angelo Pinot Grigio is no exception, but instead of coming from Friuli or Alto Adige, which are considered top growing areas for this varietal, it is from the home estate of Banfi, making it that much more interesting to discover.

In the glass, Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio is a faint lemon-yellow color with a bright translucent core going out into a virtually glass-clear rim definition with medium viscosity.

On the nose, there are expressive notes of white fruits, in particular pomelo, crushed star fruit, pink grapefruit flesh, white grape juice, white flowers and touches of minerality.

In the mouth, this wine boasts wonderful layered — bordering on complex — crushed mixed citrus, Braeburn apples, green pears, star fruit nectar, allspice-tinged apple cider, and hints of almond milk and chalky minerals. The midpalate shows a harmonious balance between the white fruit and acidity, and it all comes together in a nice, softish finish that produces yet more grapefruit and touches of white flowers.

Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio is a lovely summer wine that is priced much less than other pinot grigios of similar breed, but it might just turn out to be a lot better. Serve at about 50 degrees Fahrenheit for the best flavor and try it as an aperitif alone or with a dozen freshly shucked Kumamoto oysters.

Wine: Castello Banfi San Angelo Pinot Grigio

Grape: Pinot gris

Region: Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy

Vintage: 2005

Price: $14.99

Gil Lempert-Schwarz’s wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at

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