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Sunday, 7 November 2021

Posh Fizz and Gamey Red for Autumn-Winter

A traditional-method fizz and sophisticated red for autumn

I've said it before, Crisp White and Big Red is a benchmark combination for wines with dinner.

You can go as smart or basic as you like.

These two wines most definitely fit into the smart category and are perfectly suited to autumnal dining and into winter.

Banfi in Montalcino dates back to 1978 when it was founded by the Italian-American Mariani family who saw great potential in the sleepy Tuscan region. The estate is now the largest contiguous vineyard in Italy and includes land in Tuscany and Piedmont. The estate is planted one third to vines, one third to olive groves, fruit trees and other crops and the remaining third is woodland. Banfi - Wines

On arrival / aperitif

Gosset Grand Blanc de Blancs Brut (£55-65 from Petersham Cellars, Plus de Bulles, The Imperial Wine Company, Bon Coeur Fine Wines, Noble Green Wines, The Champagne Company, Weavers of Nottingham, Davy’s Wine Merchants, Champagne One, The Huntsworth Wine Co, Sandhams Wine Merchants, The Whisky Exchange, Wadebridge Wines, The Vineking, Flagship Wines, Harvey Nichols)

Made from 100 percent Chardonnay grapes grown in fifteen villages of the Côte des Blancs (for finesse) and Côte des Noirs (for structure). Each village and terroir brings its own character, complexities and aromas to the wine, resulting in this exceptional cuvée; the minerality comes from chalk soil that was once an ancient seabed containing millions of small-fossilised creatures.

The grapes are hand-picked; the wines are vinified and aged on the lees for a minimum of three years in bottles stored in their deep chalk cellars.

The clear glass bottles, which are still used today for the Blanc de Blancs, were pioneered by Suzanne Gosset (1885-1970) who ran the house following her husband’s death in the 1950s. The glass underlines the purity and brilliance of the wine’s colour but also evokes the mineral quality found on the palate and the wine’s origins in the region’s chalk soil. The box in which the bottle comes as standard, is to avoid lightstrike affecting the flavour of the delicate champagne.

mineral and floral, with white flowers, white pepper, stone fruits and almond; fresh, citrussy and leesy-complex with bruised orchard fruits, white peach and delicate biscuity brioche; savoury and broad, mineral-saline and elegant.

Very Good; improves with some aeration and will age.

Serve as an aperitif or match with smoked salmon canapes, seafood and fish, such as prawns, scallops, dressed crab, oyster. Alternatively, a simple risotto with parmesan shavings, white meat or a young, fruity Comté cheese

With (gamey) mains

Banfi Rosso di Montalcino 2019 (Sangiovese) (Majestic, £19.99 / £16.99 mix six)

A delicious autumnal Tuscan red from the southern slopes of Montalcino, best known for Italy’s finest world-famous Brunello wines.

Rosso di Montalcino is made from the same 100% Sangiovese grapes, but is an earlier release of the wine, thus retaining the varietal characters and flavours of the Sangiovese grape, but usually with softer tannins.

This is a style that is approachable at a younger age, but still has all the hallmarks of a remarkable Sangiovese wine. This exemplary Rosso is perfect when pheasant and game birds are on the menu (from 1st October) and served with a simple roast or a rich casserole dish. It’s also good with medium aged cheeses. 

Vinified in stainless-steel tanks, resulting in a wine that is less astringent and softer in character. It is then aged for 10-12 months in French oak barriques and casks, followed by a further six months in bottle.

Banfi’s winemaker comments that ‘this is a complex wine characterised by great varietal expression. 

blackberry and raspberry fruit with violets, leathery sous bois, aromatic green herbs and sweet vanilla spice; fresh cherries and red fruits with mocha-coffee grounds, tobacco and spice; very fresh, precise, complex and harmonious. 

Improves with aeration, several hours in the decanter is ideal, and demands food.


Match with darker game such as venison, pheasant or duck.

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