Banfi Piemonte: Pioneers of Albarossa in a classic region

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The Banfi brand is famously associated with Castello Banfi, in Tuscany’s Montalciono region, founded in 1978. However, it was only one year later, in 1979, that Banfi Piemonte started, with the purchase of the Bruzzone cellars in the small town of Strevi, in northeast Italy’s Piedmont region. Originally founded in 1860, this winery is one of Italy’s oldest and, in its Deco heyday, was one of its most famous “metodo classico” sparkling wine producers.

This creation of a Piedmontese side in their enterprise clearly reflects the Mariani family’s philosophy of keeping a profound respect for tradition, while maintaining a keen regard for the future.

Fast-forward to the present and Banfi Piemonte, is recognised as a leading producer of both still and sparkling Piedmontese wines. 46 hectares of vineyards provide the grapes for a completely renovated winery, custom made to both preserve and exalt their natural characteristics.

The winery boasts an impressive array of stainless-steel tanks, crucial for the correct fermentation of sparkling wines and the initial vinification of red wines, plus row upon row of pupitres used for the painstaking production of “metodo classico” sparkling wines.

The barrel room, recently restored and adorned with art, plays host to the maturation of noble Piedmontese wines. Wines produced include noble Piedmontese varietals, such as Cortese, Brachetto, Dolcetto, Barbera and Albarossa, and the winery’s dedication to quality and link to terroir is expressed through its varied and well-rounded portfolio.

Banfi Piemonte barrel room

Credit: A. Brookshaw

La Lus 2016 – Piemonte DOC

La Lus is made with the Albarossa grape, a cross of Piedmont’s famous Barbera and Nebbiolo. First made in 1938, Albarossa (loosely translating as “Red Dawn”) lay dormant until 2002 when four enterprising Piedmontese wineries, including Banfi Piemonte, joined forces to plant an experimental hectare dedicated to the new grape, which has the seductive fruitiness of Barbera, rounded out by the structure of Nebbiolo. La Lus, means “the light” or “rising sun” in Piedmontese dialect.

2016 was a good vintage, with early sprouting thanks to a mild winter balanced by slow vegetative activity in a cooler-than-normal spring. These conditions, plus low rainfall in the first half of September, made the quality of the grapes exceptional.

Vivid ruby red, La Lus with its fruity aromas accompanied by hints of vanilla and liquorice and a soft and velvety structure, is a striking, modern version of typical Piedmontese style.

Ideal with tasty appetisers such as seasoned hams and liver pâté crostini, but also excellent with pasta dishes served with savoury sauces, such as ragu’, or main courses, such as rabbit stew.

Banfi Piemonte La Lue

Alcohol: 14%

Suggested serving temperature: 16-18°C

First vintage produced: 2006