Friday, June 13, 2014

Cru Artisan Banfi Wines

Cru Artisan, who oversees the luxury selections of the Banfi portfolio, was in Houston last week sharing their wines and knowledge with local wine professionals. The experience started with a walk around tasting and an opportunity to talk with some of the winemakers. The selected wines for the tasting were produced by Castello Banfi, Sartori di Verona, Banfi Piemonte, Cerulli Spinozzi, Fontana Candida and Bolla.

I took my 21 year old daughter to work on this day. She was in on a short break during her summer internship and, although she is more of a cider aficionado, she was delighted to expand her knowledge of Italian wine. Within her own circle of college friends, she is already the leading wine expert.

Having just walked out of the already oppressive Houston heat and due to my own agenda of searching for wine recommendations for upcoming summer stories, we started with some sparkling pink wine, the 2010 Cuvée Aurora Rosé  from the Alta Langa DOCG. This classic method 100% Pinot Noir was dry with subtle notes of rose and apricot, a silky mousse, refreshing acidity with a smooth finish. Ideal anytime with anything. Priced at approximately $30.

I was then pleased to meet Enrico Cerulli and learn about his family's history in Abruzzo and hear about his choice to farm organically. We tasted his Cerulli Spinozzi "Cortalto" Pecorino which was "like spa water", per my daughter. It had fresh aromas and flavors of citrus and peach with almond, a medium body, dry and smooth with a light mineral finish. Priced at approximately $14.

2013 Banfi Principessa Gavia Gavi from 100% Cortese grapes was light, fresh and citrusy with a clean finish. This is easy to find in our area and affordable at approximately $14, I have served this with simply grilled fish on many occasions and a previous vintage was a Galveston Monthly top pick back in August 2012, it is consistently good.

Maur Merz, chief winemaker  for Fontana Candida, poured us a taste of his 2011 Luna Mater Frascati Superiore, a dry Malvasia-based white blend with aromas and flavors of citrus, melon and almond. Approximately $22, try it with light seafood pasta dishes.

We tasted the Albinea Canali FB Lambrusco Metodo Ancestrale from Emiliana. This was unlike any Lambrusco that I have ever had before, I really enjoyed it as did my daughter. It was dry, fresh and fruity. She proclaimed that she could just stop there until I was done and enjoy that wine with the charcuterie as recommended. We were disappointed to learn that we won't be seeing this in our market.

After our quick snack, I wanted to welcome Rudy Buratti of Castello Banfi and Andrea Sartori back to Houston and taste some red wine. We made the rounds and tasted too many good wines to name here. I was interested to taste the La Lus  Albarossa from Monferrato which is a variety that I have not tasted very much- very smooth and easy drinking.

The wine makers stayed in town and conducted classes at Camarata on the following day teaching locals about the different wines and the places from which they come.


Thank you to Cru Artisan and Banfi for bringing both their wine and wisdom to Houston!